Well there you go. An empty canvas of a Virus Lockdown Wembley. The Taffs. Conor Coady being Conor Coady. That means all you hear is his voice rebounding off the rows of empty seats. Ordering, moving players around, but most of all enjoying the absolute shit out of the whole weird occasion. The dysfunctionality of the England player party scene which left three important players…somewhere else, gave the whole show a dysfunction vibe. Years ago I would have been crazed beyond imagination at having to play the Taffs while losing three vital parts of Southgates England machine. Now, errant behaviour lays down the territory where others may flourish. The Wembley pitch last night was a rich soil on which to grow something worthwhile for sure. Southgate probably wouldn’t understand it. Most of the England set up wouldn’t either. But it was a chance for lose ‘low cap’ fellows to stretch their legs a bit in this weird abstract set up that we call the England team. Coady doesn’t seem fazed. He has that steely look, eyebrows furrowed where he is not quite believing what he’s doing running around in an England kit at Wembley. It’s the look he gives Journos in Post Match interviews when they say something negative. It’s the look that says ‘I’m listening and concentrating but…”.
Calvert-Lewin, strong in form and head down even Jack Grealish had a look of a man who had come to the conclusion that his football had to flourish and grow within this 3-4-3 set up. So on that left side there was danger and menace from a Grealish that I suspect has decided to grow up a little and start to love his football again. As the game progressed I enjoy these little touches the team seemed to grow into and develop as the game went on. No answer from the Taffs. Missing three players of apparent usefulness…apparently. But it’s an experimental tactic from Southgate. I watched the Denmark game. It was a bit weird for sure. Players not seeming to gel with the ideas Southgate wanted on the field but developing that idea certainly as the game progressed. But it looked more like the games these players play every week with their clubs. It was fast and precise leaving several Taffs looking around in confusion as indeed we started to run them a little ragged. Southgate will be extremely happy with the result and of course in the next few matches the England Goon show will probably make an appearance and we can get back to watching these elite knobheads like Sancho, Maguire et al fart around like its a kick about in the park.
But enough about 3-0 lashings of our Taff neighbours. Watching the match on a dodgy stream again I drink tea out of my Conor Coady mug looking at the photo he signed for me. Its a photo of me and him outside the Preston ground. I look like a tramp and he’s there looking like he does, little smile of confusion probably at this lunatic who keeps garbling about Coady being his favourite player and so on. In my appreciation of Coady and the Grit Bin halftime conferences we had where we defended Conor with words and physical shapes I am happy. I am fucking ecstatic in fact. If we had been at Wembley last night (and we would have been) we would probably have got thrown out after the Coady goal. It was enough bedlam here because as he poked his foot out so did I and stuff went flying, including me tea, a dog, me fags and the bloody lap top. What a ball in by Trippery bloke, Conor only had to put a toe on it. I know it’s not that easy but man, I’ve seen how accurate Coady is putting a ball to someone. He’s a Marksman as well as a Defender. I bet he loved being up the top end for a bit. I bet Nuno was thinking “What ya doing up there! GET BACK!” but Wolves madness is much different to England insanity. I didn’t get to see the celebrations because by then I had run out into the garden and was throwing stuff around singing and laughing my bollocks off. That’s enough about my fanboy moment, I’m sure you all know how much I love Conor Coady. Look how he enjoys this madness, look at his laughter, see how much his team mates respond to his commands. These are players at Clubs who play delicious football and they listen to him like the fantastic Captain he is. He is a born Leader, in contrast to others that have gone before him in the recent past, petulant players, engrossed in a narcissistic ego that always put their team mates a few places behind their Instagram profile and their media presence. Men not really of the calibre required to play as an England Captain.
Afterwards of course, when the dust settled down I watched the rest of the match and waxed to the dogs about how Nuno had helped make this Coady bloke what he is. England Captain. Coady joins a list of course. Wright, Hughes, and Stan Cullis. Legends. Yes, Nuno helped make Coady this player but there are also another list we should mention. Coadys Mom and Dad. Sitting in cars in a car park waiting for Conor to finish training when he was a kid. Standing on the touchline in the rain, cold rain probably, watching this strip of a kid powering around a muddy council pitch. Washing his kit, cleaning his stuff up, feeding him, encouraging him, helping him build up a personality and a psychology that is built not only on the pitch and at training but also in long drives back home when things probably didn’t go as well. Conversations, subtle encouragement, post match analysis where criticism has to fall softly and gently into those ears of the kid staring out of the car window as the rain streamed past. Here is where the core of Coady was built, within his family. Here is where the secret is. I was pleased for Conor last night, proud and happy but ya know he’s always happy to be playing football that’s why he’s always smiling. I was more made up for the Coady family as a whole, his Mom and Dad, his Missus and kids, his brother Harrison. What a foundation of people to have in your corner. They are very strong these Coadys ya know. Nuno provided the ‘nurture’ aspect of his football, the learning and the long hours analysing performance and tactical nous, evolution, development and realising potential. But just as important is environment. The growth of an Athlete starts at a young age and this pre professional environment is just as important as his development while under the tutelage of Nuno and his team. This dichotomy of ‘Family’ and ‘Career development’ entwine with each other seemingly becoming one as the player develops and grows. This idea that Coady was some sort of ‘blank slate’ before he came to Wolves is a wrong one. I suspect Nuno rapidly found that here was a player that didn’t really need most of the psychological pandering most footballers seem to need. Nuno merely twisted a branch here and there training the Captain of our team into not something completely different to how Coady played and loved his football but took what was a dependable and skilful player into what we saw last night, twist here and twist there.
I am very proud and I am just a lunatic Wolves fan, a simple one indeed. My Town, my club has given England a Captain we can be proud of and follow right until the end. And if you think I’m going to be poking people in the forehead with a jabby finger reminding them about the negative crap they used to wax to me about Conor Coady by the Grit Bin…well you’re right. Thank you Conor Coady for a great night. God Bless.