Conor Coady: What will the Wolves captain offer to Gareth Southgate?

Wolves captain Conor Coady finally gets England call-up but why has he been overlooked so many times and what will he offer Gareth Southgate?

  • Defender Conor Coady has been called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad
  • Coady, 27, has established himself as one of the most consistent centre-halves
  • His success rate with long passes is better than that of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk
  • He is regarded as a great leader, having secured promotion with Wolves in 2018
  • But has only received his senior England call-up now, after years of success… 

Having recently secured a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, Conor Coady’s has become somewhat of a fan favourite already.

Wolves supporters have long called for Coady’s inclusion in the England setup after leading by example under Nuno Espirito Santo and establishing himself as one of England’s top centre-halves. Although the 27-year-old has been frequently overlooked due to the style of football Southgate has deployed during his four years in charge.

However, Coady has been handed his maiden Three Lions squad this week’s Nations League matches with Iceland and Denmark to fill the void left by Harry Maguire’s withdrawal.

Wolves captain Conor Coady has been called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad

Coady’s reaction to the call-up was what grabbed the attention of the fans, as the Englishman said the news reduced his wife, Amy, and his parents to tears of joy.

The defender went on to say he was ‘shaking’ when he received the news, claiming it is a moment he will ‘never forget for the rest of his life as it was incredible’. 

But what has led Coady to this moment? Why has he been overlooked so many times and what will he offer England? 

Sportsmail take a detailed look at the debutante’s career and outline what fans can expect to see with their new addition.

A Liverpool fan from a young age, Coady started his career in the Reds academy system before progressing into Brendan Rodgers’ first-team.

Coady was handed his debut during Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat by Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia on November 8, 2012 and went on to make four more match-day squads.

Out of those four opportunities, the youngster only made it onto the pitch for a second time when he came on as a late substitute during their win at Fulham in May. 

Coady’s Liverpool dream was cut short when he was left out of the squad that was selected to travel to Indonesia in 2013.

Subsequently, the youngster signed a six-month-loan deal with League One club Sheffield United. 

Coady captained the Liverpool U18’s and later featured twice for the Liverpool first-team

Coady was not selected to travel to Indonesia for the Liverpool first-team’s tour in July 2013

Coady said he was ‘always realistic’ and felt it was time to move on from Liverpool to get regular first-team experience. 

He said: ‘Brendan Rodgers was good to me when I was young. I had a season training with the first-team at Melwood, and learning off them, that was big for me, but I always knew it was tough. I was always realistic, I was learning a lot off the first-team, how to play and do things.

‘I knew at some point I’d have to come away from Liverpool to really experience being a first-team player. It was the best decision I ever made, and Brendan Rodgers was great for that; he pushed that to send me on loan and try to improve my game.

‘Even being on loan at Sheffield United (in 2013-14), I loved the season and it was a great club for me to go to, coming back I still knew it was going to be tough. 

‘Liverpool were always getting better, they were always improving, and the players in my position were ridiculous. But I just wanted to play football. I knew where I was at, the type of level I was at, but I just wanted to be part of a first-team, playing in games which meant something, playing against men.’ 

After being left out of the Indonesia squad, Coady joined Sheffield United on loan in 2013

After leaving Liverpool, Coady went on to be a big success at Sheffield United – scoring five times in 39 appearances.

He also featured in eight FA Cup-ties and reached the semi-final stage of the competition before crashing out against Hull City.

As a consequence, his loan period was extended the day before his 21st birthday and lasted until 2014.

In the summer of 2014 Coady made the switch to Huddersfield Town in the Championship for a transfer fee of £2million.

After a short stint under Mark Robins, Coady later went on to join Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2015 and has since established himself as one of the most consistent centre-halves in the English game. 

In the summer of 2014 Coady transferred to Huddersfield Town in the Championship for £2m

The starlet even captained Wolves to promotion back into the top-flight during their 2017-18 campaign.

His leadership and organisation have been repeatedly praised by team-mates and staff over the years.

Reflecting on Coady’s ability to unit his squad, former Wolves star Dave Edwards said: ‘Conor has always been a leader. He’s so vocal – such a big talker.

‘He’s like that every single day in the dressing room, and such a happy guy as well, always having a smile on his face.

‘That raises the energy in training and around the place, even when you’ve lost a game.

‘Conor was the natural choice for Nuno, and he has revelled in the centre of defence. It was a natural option. He can see the pitch from there and organise.

‘He has been a leader since he was a teenager, captaining England at youth level. I just hope he gets a chance at senior level with England now.’

Since arriving at Wolves, Coady had developed his leadership skills under Nuno Espirito Santo

 Former Wolves star Dave Edwards says that Coady has always had leadership abilities 

Coady’s leadership qualities are not only apparent through what he says, but how he acts.

The 27-year-old has played every single minute of every Wolves game in the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League this season since they started with a 2-0 win over Crusaders in the second qualifying round on July 25.

The only games Coady has been spared were two ties in the Carabao Cup, but the defender’s marathon endeavours go back a long way before that.

The 4,950 minutes he has completed this season – plus much more if you include stoppage time – came off the back of a 2018-19 campaign in which he played every competitive minute for Wolves in league and cup.

The last time Coady was absent from a Wolves league fixture was way back on September 30, 2017, when a suspension for a red card kept him out of a 4-0 win over Burton Albion in the Championship.

Jamie Carragher has been wanting the 27-year-old to be recognised by England for years

Coady replaced Harry Maguire, who withdrew following his conviction for Mykonos brawl

Coady – who has taken the same path as Jamie Carragher by going through the academy system at Liverpool and moving from midfield to defence – says he would be ‘delighted’ to achieve what the Sky Sports pundit has.

He said: ‘I know Jamie Carragher did a similar thing by playing in midfield for the U18’s and then moving into defence – if I can do half as well as he has done I’ll be delighted.’ 

As it stands, Coady is on track to replicate the former England man’s success, having earned his first call-up to represent his country.

The Wolves captain will be part of the England squad who face Iceland in Reykjavik on September 5 before playing Denmark in Copenhagen three days later. 

Coady is a direct replacement for Harry Maguire, who was withdrawn from the squad by manager Southgate after being given a suspended prison sentence in Greece.

However, it is Coady’s humble approach to his England debut that has seen him become a fan favourite.  

Coady has previously represented and captained England at youth level – U17 and U20

In April, Coady was asked about being called up to the England squad, he said: ‘It’s always in your head, how amazing it would be to play for your country. It’s something you think about and dream about, it’s the pinnacle of any Englishman’s career.

‘Do I think about ever really getting into the squad? No, I’m quite realistic of where I am and I just focus on the situation I’m in. If I start thinking about certain things that aren’t here, I’ll be disappointed if they don’t come. So I make sure I don’t, and focus on Wolves and getting better, and as long as I’m doing that, that’s all I’m happy about.

‘Do I think about it, do I think it would be amazing? Of course, it’s the pinnacle of any Englishman’s career, but I would never put pressure on myself to say, “I need to start playing well here because the national team manager’s here.” Because if I don’t get in I’ll be disappointed. It’s not something I think about often really.’

Much to Coady’s delight he is now making his first senior squad appearance after previously represented England at youth level – captaining the side that won the 2010 UEFA European U17 Championship in Liechtenstein and became the first England team to win an international tournament in 17 years. 

He earned at total of 17 caps for the U17’s before being named as England’s captain for the U20 World Cup in Turkey. 

Coady has a better success rate with his long passes than Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk

He turns defence into an attack within an instant by firing balls out to Adama Traore at Wolves

At senior level, Coady has impressed the England manager during his time as Wolves – with his statistics proving that he has a better success rate with his long passes than the likes of Premier League champion Virgil Van Dijk.

Coady’s ability to turn defence into an attack within an instant has become a specialty as he frequently finds Matt Doherty or Adama Traore on the flank.  

However, England’s tendency to play four at the back had stripped him of international recognition.  

Having finally broken into the squad,  Coady has made it clear he is not in England’s squad to make up the numbers as he targets a cap to achieve his boyhood dream.

He said: ‘Caps for England would be incredible, the pinnacle of any Englishman’s career. I know in my own head that is something I want to do – and everybody’s fighting to do it. I need to be ready if that time ever comes.’ 

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