Well Regarded, Well Capped

Captain Conor – An International Thoroughbred

Conor Coady in his England age-group days.

Tempting though it is to regard Conor Coady as something of a late arrival on the England scene, the reality is very different.

He may not have been given a senior debut by his country until his late 20s but, as we wonder in the countdown to this weekend’s World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino whether he will eventually surpass Steve Bull’s tally of 13 caps, his profile reminds us of a very full international background.

The Merseysider actually represented England at a host of different age levels before his excellence on the Premier League stage earned him his big call-up from Gareth Southgate.

Our thanks go to wikipedia for reminding us that he played four times for the under-16s and then won 17 caps for an under-17 side he captained to success in the European Championships in Liechenstein.

It will surprise no-one at Molineux that his leadership potential was spotted so early and Peter Taylor subsequently named him to skipper the under-20s as well in the 2013 World Cup in that age group.

Having been part of an under-19 team who reached a European semi-final in Estonia in the meantime, he was clearly very firmly on the radar of those in charge of selection at the FA long before his senior debut came in September, 2020, a full 30 years after Bully’s international swansong.

Unlike the striker, he missed out on a stint with the under-21s, possibly because his club career at the time was being spent on the fringes at Liverpool and then in the Championship with Huddersfield.

But he has a firm foothold in Southgate’s senior squad now and has a chance of becoming Wolves’ most-used England player since Ron Flowers well over half a century ago.

He currently has seven appearances to his name and has had the extra thrill along the way of leading the team out – a sure sign of the esteem in which he is held among his colleagues and coaches.

Only nine men have ever won more England caps while with Wolves and Coady will move alongside one of them, Bobby Thomson, the next time he sets foot on the pitch with the three lions on his chest.

Bobby Thomson in action for Wolves in the 1960s.

Beyond the late full-back’s tally of eight caps comes a cluster of players in close proximity in the list, namely Stan Cullis, Dennis Wilshaw, Bill Slater and Jimmy Mullen on 12 and Bully on 13.

Coady has written the foreword for the recently published Bob Bannister book, Wolves’ England Internationals, and has been cited, through being selected for his country, as the inspiration for the publication.

Thomas Publications