Football devotees are keeping a close eye on the development of the latest Anfield star to step off the conveyor belt.
Eighteen year old Conor Coady is inspiring comparisons with the current on-field king pin at Anfield – none other than Steven Gerrard, who may very well go on to take the mantle of Liverpool's greatest ever player.
Coady models himself on Gerrard and Carragher, and is an energetic and cultured midfielder, comfortable in making lung-busting runs, dictating play, or sitting deep. His progress and assured performances have left Liverpool fans purring with anticipation.
During the formative years of his so far fledgling career, the young midfielder has established himself as the heartbeat at all levels he has played at, be it for Liverpool or England.
Last summer the teenage starlet skippered the England Under 17s to glory at the European Championships, defeating the cream of Spain 2-1. It was the first English success since Robbie Fowler spearheaded a win in the same tournament in 1993.
The Academy skipper also graduated to John McMahon's reserve side, helping his teammates achieve a domestic Senior Cup double in the 2009-10 season.
Like Jamie Carragher, Coady has represented the Reds as a centre back and pundits say that his game is more suited as a deep lying holding midfielder – much in the Gareth Barry mould. His distribution and positional play is sound and there are shades of Alonso too. Coady is a leader too and has earned the right to wear the armband for club and country.
Coady had caught Dalglish’s eye after the king supervised him at the Academy last year. Roy Hodgson has not held technical directors’ posts without merit, and no sooner had the West Brom boss taken over the reins at Anfield he invited Coady to spend time with the seniors at Melwood.
During the last school half term, Coady joined fellow youth star Raheem Sterling for Liverpool’s Europa League sojourn to Sparta Prague. Like Sterling, Dalglish protected the youngster by leaving him out of the final squad, but the gaffer’s inclusion of the two youngsters was a massive sign of intent.
Dalglish loves to give the youth a chance, and it is apparent with his inclusion of Shelvey, Spearing and Kelly in Liverpool’s first team, that the Kop boss is likely to feature the likes of Coady, Sterling and Pacheco more prominently next season.
As an influence, Coady cites Zinedine Zidane as one of the greatest players of all time. That alone, coupled with the role model influence of Gerrard and Carragher will give him the perfect footballing tuition. If Coady fulfils his potential he is likely to be a one club man just like the Liverpool stalwarts. The fact that he is a utility player at such a tender age will only add further value to his rapid progress.
With Damien Comolli looking to revamp the youth set-up after putting John McMahon on gardening leave, it would be a surprise if Coady doesn’t make Dalglish’s first team squad in the next Premiership campaign .
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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