Back in 2011, Liverpool had one of their young starlets being tipped to become the ‘next Steven Gerrard.’ It was a tag being occasionally branded around the club about young talent Conor Coady. With good reason as well. The teenager was looking like the most natural successor to Gerrard yet.
The summer previous, he had helped England win the UEFA under-17 Championships, which is where the hype all began. Liverpool had unearthed a gem who immediately found himself tipped to become a future Kop captain.
But it never happened for the young man.
Instead, he headed to Sheffield United on loan – where he excelled. After getting a taste for regular football, the idea of returning to the reserve life with Liverpool clearly did not appeal to the utility man. Therefore, he left Liverpool in 2014, joining Huddersfield Town.
Liverpool fans soon forgot about him. Just another hyped up youngster who could not match the expectations laid at their door?
Well, this season Coady has finally looked like the real deal.
The Melwood talent did not stick with Huddersfield for long. In 2015 he joined Wolverhampton Wanderers and he is now looking like the talent Liverpool thought they had at Molineux.
One issue with Coady has always been his position. Often moved around the park, this season he has played as a settled central defender. The results have been exceptional. Coady has been one of the best players in the Championship this campaign. That was highlighted by his inclusion in the Championship team of the season. The 25-year-old is now looking like a future Premier League star and will be playing in the big time next season after captaining Wolves to the Championship summit.
When Liverpool sold Coady to Huddersfield, they did so for a fee reported to be just £500,000 by the Liverpool Echo. The Reds obviously felt he would not live up to those once lofty expectations.
Based on his form this season, Liverpool could be rueing this mistake in the not so distant future.