TOP FLIGHT ‘WILL NOT FAZE BENIK’
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.
CHERRY-PICKED: Benik Afobe made his Bournemouth debut against West Ham in a 3-1 midweek loss Inset: Conor Coady