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Liam Keen comment: Conor Coady departs Wolves as a club legend

Conor Coady departs Wolves as a club legend.

Conor Coady (AMA)
Conor Coady (AMA)

He might not have the trophies or string of important goals to his name, but after 317 appearances Coady leaves as one of the club’s greatest every captains.

Consider some of the legendary names that donned the old gold and black and Coady is right up there. He was a crucial member of the team that earned promotion back to the Premier League, reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, the quarter-finals of the Europa League and came within a whisker of breaking into the top six.

Coady helped Wolves forge their identity and brought pride back to Molineux and for that he should also be held in high regard.

On the field he maximised his potential and talent in a specialist role created by Nuno Espirito Santo.

Him leaving allows Wolves to create a new identity and enter a new era, while he can fight for a World Cup place – which he deserves. It is a mutually beneficial move but one that still feels like the end of something iconic.

Conor Coady scores for England. Picture: Glyn Kirk/PA Wire.

His impressive displays with Wolves earned him an England place in 2020 and 10 caps and one goal later, he has become a prominent figure in Gareth Southgate’s dressing room – and he did this while representing Wolves superbly.

Off the field he was – and is – a model professional. He was a dream to work with, always friendly and helpful, and took pride in his work.

Coady never got himself in trouble or made headlines for the wrong reasons. He never embarrassed Wolves or let them down.

It was somewhat fitting that he departed seven years to the day that he made his Wolves debut (August 8) but he now leaves a massive hole to fill.

It is clear that Nathan Collins and Max Kilman are preferred in a back four, as they suit what Bruno Lage wants from his centre-back pairing.

Conor Coady (Getty)

Stylistically and tactically his move make sense for Wolves. Lage now has the opportunity to move away from Nuno’s legacy and create his own identity.

But what Coady offers in terms of leadership and a loud dressing room voice is difficult to replace.

Having already lost experienced players John Ruddy, Romain Saiss and Fernando Marcal – Wolves have actively brought down the age of their squad.

That makes sense. But what Wolves are not blessed with is loud characters in the dressing room.

Often, footballing ability can do the talking, but there is a lot to gain from a clear figurehead among the squad and it is time for someone else to step up and stake their claim.

It is virtually impossible to replace Coady’s presence, but the club must move on without his shadow looming over them – while also respecting what he did for them.

England's Conor Coady and Raheem Sterling. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

However, Wolves and Lage are also running a risk.

The manager has publicly said that he is keen to have both back four and back five systems in his arsenal – although it seems he currently favours the former.

Lage has always wanted to make that switch, but if he truly wants to return to five-at-the-back at any point this season, he has now lost his best operator in that system.

Collins would probably move centrally, with Willy Boly coming in, if that change does happen – but it is still a calculated risk to let Coady leave if there is any chance of returning to a five.

Either way, Coady should be remembered for what he gave to Wolves and the love he had for the club. His young family have grown up with Wolves and the club holds a dear place in his heart.

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