Coady idolises Gerrard and won’t stop talking about him but could now pile on pressure

Conor Coady told talkSPORT about the ‘surreal’ conversation he had with Everton manager Frank Lampard this week.

But it’s nothing compared to the goosebumps he feels talking to Lampard’s former midfield rival Steven Gerrard.

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Coady came through the ranks at Liverpool

But Coady has now signed for the Reds’ rivals Everton

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But Coady has now signed for the Reds’ rivals Everton

Coady will make his Everton debut against Aston Villa on Saturday after joining from Wolves and it will be special for a number of reasons.

The England defender’s son already plays in the Toffees’ youth system and many of his family are part of the Goodison Park faithful.

But an added bonus will be the prospect of reuniting with his boyhood idol Gerrard standing in the opposite dugout.

Coady came through the academy ranks at Everton’s rivals Liverpool and had the chance to train alongside Gerrard after reaching the fringes of the first team in 2012.

Stevie G was coming to the end of his 27-year association with the Anfield outfit but still proved to be a class above the rest.

Coady recently told In The Stiffs podcast: “The way he trained, he would fly through you and just stare at you on the floor if you went down injured.


Coady (centre) knew first-hand how good Gerrard was (right)

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Coady (centre) knew first-hand how good Gerrard was (right)

“Honestly, that’s how much he wanted to win. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, you could have been 16, you could have been 35 and the way he trained to stop you scoring, going through him or passing around him or taking it around him.

“He would literally leave you there and look at you and go “it’s up to you now, what are you going to do?”

“He was that good, his passing… everything he done was just at another level!”

Coady (right) was billed as the ‘Next Steven Gerrard’ coming through the ranks

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Coady (right) was billed as the ‘Next Steven Gerrard’ coming through the ranks

Coady made his Premier League debut for Liverpool at the end of the 2012/13 season before being sent out on loan to Sheffield United.

Coady was billed as the ‘next Gerrard’ after breaking through as a box-to-midfielder and hoped to emulate his idol after helping the Blades to an FA Cup semi-final.

Ahead of the Wembley fixture, he told Liverpool’s website: “Steven has always been an inspiration to me. Being a Liverpool fan all of my life, he is my idol and a hero of mine.

“I always try to come back here and watch him play because I learn so much off him and hopefully I can carry on doing that.”

Unfortunately for Coady, there was no Gerrard-type screamer to save United from suffering a 5-3 defeat to Hull City.

Yet the 29-year-old had clearly taken note of Gerrard’s leadership qualities when, after initially joining Huddersfield, he made the switch to Wolves and took over the armband.

A young Coady was unable to replicate Gerrard’s FA Cup performances at Wembley

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A young Coady was unable to replicate Gerrard’s FA Cup performances at Wembley

Such was his influence that Coady was left stunned when Ian Wright initially only deemed Gerrard as eighth on his list of the Premier League’s all-time great captains.

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“Steven Gerrard eighth-best Premier League captain?” Coady queried on BBC Radio 5 Live. “Wow, caught me by surprise that.  Wow, I don’t know. I might be biased because I grew up as Gerrard being a bit of an idol of mine. I think he should be a lot higher than that if I am totally honest with you. 

“People will argue at the fact that he’s not won a Premier League and different things. That argument comes out quite a lot. But if you look at him as an actual captain and the teams he played in for Liverpool. The way he dragged teams through. Champions League finals. FA Cup finals.

“The way he actually went about his business and how he was as a player, not just as a captain as well. For me, he would be higher than that. [But] I will let him off if he’s changed it.”

Many believe Gerrard is Liverpool’s greatest ever player

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Many believe Gerrard is Liverpool’s greatest ever player

Gerrard had been injured for the one minute of Premier League football Coady played for Liverpool during a 3-1 win over Fulham in 2013.

And the 42-year-old had hung up his boots by the time Coady made it back to the top-flight with Wolves so their paths never crossed again.

But it’s something Coady would desperately change if he could after he once named Gerrard as the one player from the history of world football that he would choose to play alongside.

He told England: “I trained with him at Liverpool obviously but I never got to play alongside him. What a player he was! In his prime and what he did for Liverpool was just (blows his cheeks out)… what a player!

“What a player and what an ambassador. He was a fantastic footballer.”

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Even Coady’s England teammates have noticed his admiration for Gerrard, with James Ward-Prowse telling the Times: “Conor Coady doesn’t stop talking about him!”

Coady giving Ward-Prowse advice on how Gerrard used to take free-kicks

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Coady giving Ward-Prowse advice on how Gerrard used to take free-kicks

Saturday’s reunion between the pair won’t particularly be a happy one with Coady desperate to impress on his Everton debut at Gerrard’s expense.

His links to Liverpool added with the Toffees desperation to claim their first points of the season will mean he will need a strong performance – but by doing so will inflict more misery on his idol.

Gerrard is under pressure after Villa’s opening defeat to Bournemouth and is among the names leading the sack race.

They say never meet your heroes… in Coady’s case, never cost your heroes their job will be a pretty good expression to live by as well!

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