Coady: 'Proud moment for everyone in my family'
Conor Coady has spoken of his incredible pride after it was confirmed he would have the chance to start for England in front of around 65,000 supporters at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Sunday.
Coady has made five appearances for Gareth Southgate’s men in the past but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Sunday’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Andorra will be the first time he has had the chance to represent the England men’s senior team in front of fans at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.
The inclusion of Coady in the starting XI was the only selection Southgate was willing to confirm during his pre-match press conference on Saturday afternoon.
And the Wolverhampton Wanderers captain said: “It is incredible, honestly. Any time you play at Wembley is a special feeling and a special moment.
“Even last season, being there playing for your country, the feeling was incredible but now that my family has a chance to watch the game – my wife can come, my dad can come – it is a special feeling and a proud moment for everybody in my family.
“We are ready for the game, the boys were fantastic the other night and we can’t wait to get out there.”
Coady made his Three Lions’ debut in September last year and just a month later scored his first senior goal for his country against Wales and also finished the match as captain, despite it only being his second cap, following Kieran Trippier’s substitution.
The 28-year-old quickly became an integral part of the squad and has been praised by Southgate in the past, even when not selected in the starting line-up, due to the influence he has around St. George’s Park and on a matchday.
Coady said: “It is incredible to hear that [Southgate feels he is a vital member of the squad] to be honest with you.
“The summer was one of the best experiences of my life – some of the best five weeks of my life honestly, it was incredible – but we all want to play and I’m no different.
“To get the opportunity at any moment to represent my country and play for England and put on an England shirt is a special moment for me and I will always, every single day, try to give the best of myself to my country whenever I am playing or training and it will be no different tomorrow.
“Whenever I put the shirt on, it is a proud moment and something I can’t wait for, especially with it being at Wembley and being in front of 60,000 to 70,000 England supporters. It is a special feeling. It is something I can’t wait for it.”
Southgate was also asked about Patrick Bamford, who could be in line to make his England senior team debut against Andorra, after receiving his first call-up for September’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The England manager said: “It is a special moment for him and his family. You always think about the people who helped you on that journey when you get those opportunities but we want him to do what he does for his club.
“He has settled in really well with the group. He hasn’t had a huge amount of time to train with us yet but he has a really clear picture of how we like to play and it was good he was able to watch how the team play the other night at close quarters and get a feel for the expectations. We just want him to go and enjoy his football.
“The phrase you used [when asking the question] was opportunity and that is exactly what it is. He shouldn’t put any more pressure on himself than that. We know what he is capable of and we are looking forward to seeing him play.”
One player who certainly won’t be involved on Sunday is Jadon Sancho, after the forward returned to Manchester United due to the knock he picked up in training earlier this week.
Southgate said: “It is disappointing for Jadon first and foremost because these opportunities to play for England are obviously important and cherished, and we only have another five camps before the World Cup.
“So for him not to be able to play is a disappointment but we have a strong squad and we have other players who are in good form and playing well so in terms of the depth [of the squad], we are in a good place.”
England go into Sunday’s match on the back of a convincing 4-0 victory away to Hungary and now top their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying group by five points after four matches.
Andorra have yet to score against England in four previous matches and have lost 55 of their previous 57 away qualifying games for the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championships.
— England (@England) September 4, 2021
But Southgate has reiterated the importance of being fully focussed and in showing humility when approaching Sunday’s contest.
Southgate stated: “Every time we train, every time we work together, there is a level of performance that is expected amongst us as a staff and group of players.
“We have seen that since we got together again on Monday, you have to set the standards and there has to be a level of focus and humility – I mentioned before the game in Hungary that they are important qualities because it means then that the talent we have comes to the fore.
“So if we are working as hard as we should be, if we are mentally in the right place, then our talent can come to the fore.
“I think we have shown that over a consistent period of time. We are 14 or 15 matches without defeat [in 90 minutes]. It means as a group you gain confidence from various situations we have had to face in terms of being behind in games, ahead in games, tight games where you need to win late and everybody who comes in knows their job, everybody knows the way we play. So that is what we want every time we select a team and take the pitch.
“We have great trust in all of the squad so whenever we make changes to the team, we always get a good level of performance and a good level of focus.”
With around 65,000 supporters expected at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Sunday, Southgate expressed how ‘special’ and ‘quite unique in Europe’ England’s home following is.
Tickets are still available for match against Andorra and can be purchased via the link below.