The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Paul Wilkes

WOLVES mid­fielder Conor Coady be­lieves for­mer team­mate Benik Afobe will have no prob­lem adapt­ing to the de­mands of the Premier League.

Afobe moved to Bournemouth for £10m last week and Coady be­lieves the for­mer Arse­nal striker will be sorely missed at Mo­lineux.

“He’s a top player. I think ev­ery­body knows how pow­er­ful and strong he is,” Coady told The FLP. “His fin­ish­ing is up there with the best and he’s right and left-footed. You know if you get the ball up to him some­thing will hap­pen. He is re­ally spe­cial.”

Coady has played along­side some tal­ented play­ers and is cer­tainly a good judge of those des­tined to be amongst the best in the coun­try.

The 22-year-old wit­nessed the rise of Ra­heem Ster­ling from promis­ing youth prod­uct to £50m Manch­ester City sign­ing, which shocked many ob­servers last sum­mer – but not Coady.

They spent their for­ma­tive years to­gether at Liverpool, which makes Coady well-placed to eval­u­ate his tal­ent.

“I can re­mem­ber Ra­heem’s first game,” he said.“I think we were U17 and he was 15 com­ing in to play Ever­ton in the mini-derby at Finch Farm. It was a strange game to be in­volved in at 15 and he played against Luke Gar­butt, who was their left-back at the time.


“He was top-drawer and tore him apart. It was some­thing I en­joyed watch­ing – and see­ing him progress. I wasn’t sur­prised at all.”

Coady’s own ca­reer has seen him find a new home at Mo­lineux via spells with Sh­effield United (loan) and Hud­der­s­field, and he has no re­grets over his de­ci­sion to leave Liverpool in the search for reg­u­lar first team foot­ball.

The Merseysider ac­knowl­edged it was a tough move to make for a life­long Red and lo­cal lad, but a cru­cial step in his own de­vel­op­ment.

“It was very dif­fi­cult, but it was a de­ci­sion that I had to make,” said Coady.“It was the best thing I did for my ca­reer be­cause af­ter play­ing on loan quite a lot at Sh­effield United, I didn’t want to go back to Liverpool and be a squad player. I wanted to carry on play­ing – and I did that at Hud­der­s­field.”

Coady moved to Wolves last sum­mer, but the Mid­lands out­fit have flat­tered to de­ceive. At least their sea­son is now firmly back on track. Ahead of yes­ter­day’s home game against Cardiff, they had won their last four Cham­pi­onship matches.

This up­turn in re­sults has co­in­cided with Coady’s re­turn to the start­ing XI and he be­lieves he can per­form to a de­cent level in a va­ri­ety of po­si­tions.

“I filled in a cou­ple of times at cen­tre-back last sea­son at Hud­der­s­field and once this sea­son. It’s some­thing I would never rule out.

“It wouldn’t bother me at all go­ing back to play­ing there. If the man­ager turned round and said he wanted me to play there, it’s no prob­lem at all and that goes for ev­ery po­si­tion.”

Coady is a big ad­mirer of Wolves boss Kenny Jack­ett. “Ev­ery­thing about him, the way he talks, is bril­liant,” he said.“He does ev­ery­thing to im­prove his play­ers and you can tell with the tal­ent in the squad that he can im­prove ev­ery­one.”

Now Coady and Co. need to keep the good re­sults com­ing. “We all know how tough this league is and we need to keep on im­prov­ing game by game,” he added.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

CHERRY-PICKED: Benik Afobe made his Bournemouth de­but against West Ham in a 3-1 mid­week loss In­set: Conor Coady

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