Captain of a Premier League club fighting to push for a team in Europe. On the verge of an England call-up. One of few home-grown central defenders in the English top flight. Conor Coady has come some way since he left Anfield in 2014 in a desperate hunt for regular first team football to kick start his career.
Having joined the club aged just 12 in 2005, Coady rose through the ranks at on Merseyside and was on the fringe of the first team by the 2010/11 season, becoming a regular for the reserves, for whom he became captain in 2013. Later on in the year, he was to make his first team debut against Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League and then featured against Fulham for his Premier League debut.
However, he turned down the chance to join Brendan Rodgers’ first team for the pre-season tour, instead joining Sheffield United on loan, where he excelled and impressed Huddersfield Town enough to sign him for £500,000.
One year and 48 appearances later, he went on to join Wolves for a fee believed to be worth £2 million, climbing to the very top of the game with the club and now leading them as captain.
During his spell with the Reds, Coady was always a very highly rated talent and many were frustrated that he was not given more first time game time, particularly as Brendan Rodgers continued to give opportunities to the likes of Andre Wisdom instead.
Coady’s strength and tactical knowledge has been clear at Wolves, building on the foundations instilled in him by Liverpool and maturing into the kind of reliable player that any Premier League side would love to have.
It would be too simplistic to say that Liverpool should have held on to him, particularly given the fact that Coady was clearly desperate for regular game-time and his incredible improvement since leaving, but given just how well he is doing only years after departing, you could be forgiven for wondering why Rodgers and the club did not do more to encourage him to stay just for a few more years.