Hats Off To Capped Coady
Skipper’s Successful Start Bridges A Wide Gap
It says much for football’s changing landscape that Wolves should currently have so many internationals – yet so few who might play for England.
At a time when we add our warmest congratulations to Conor Coady on the winning of his first cap, consider these oddities:
He is the first player from Molineux to be used at senior level by the country since Matt Jarvis against Ghana nine years ago.
But he is the first Wanderer to start an England game since Steve Bull signed off his international career by facing Poland in the autumn of 1990, Jarvis having gone on as a sub against the African nation in front of 85,000 at Wembley.
He is the first Wolves defender to play for the country since Emlyn Hughes’s career in the three lions was drawing to a close in 1980.
And he is the first Wolves skipper to win a full cap since the lionheart League Cup final skipper of 40 years ago, Bully’s time as leader at Molineux having started after he was cast aside by Graham Taylor.
There is some coincidence, too, in as much as one of the striker’s early England outings was in a draw away to the Danes while it was on the way home from a goalless deadlock in Copenhagen in the autumn of 1948 that Billy Wright was famously alerted by Wolverhampton bus conductress Helen Mearden to the stop press in that day’s Express & Star, announcing that he had been made captain for the next international.
More than 70 years on, the Star informed us soon after Coady’s naming in the squad that he was in line to become Wolves’ 36th senior England international.
But the fact that he, Jarvis, Bull, Hughes and John Richards are the only men from the club to have been selected for England in the last 50 years shows how elusive such recognition has been over the decades.
And even some of those called up in the more fruitful 1960s, like Bobby Thomson, Chris Crowe and Alan Hinton, won only a handful of caps between them in the wake of the much more used Ron Flowers.
At this point, we should perhaps emphasise that we are talking here only of England matches played while players have been with Wolves.
Second-choice keeper John Ruddy is one of many to have signed at Molineux after seeing senior action with the country.
Finally, it would be easy to assume the 1950s was the decade in which the most Wolves-based players appeared for England. Not so.
Although six men played for the country in that decade for the first time (while with Wolves), seven made the same step up in the 1880s.