It’s very rare in the modern game that you find a player capable of holding such a strong influence over a team even when they’re not playing, especially at a club like Wolverhampton Wanderers.
However, Conor Coady is very much following the example of players like John Terry and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Their quality obviously eclipses that of the Wolves centre-back but his captaincy, leadership and motivational skills are right up there among the elite.
Coady didn’t play a single minute for England at the European Championships but he was a pillar of the squad and someone Gareth Southgate can’t help but admire.
The Three Lions boss has his own leadership methods but Coady has all of the desirable personality traits you’d want from a skipper.
“Conor Coady, Ben Chilwell, Sam Johnstone, Aaron Ramsdale, they’re the ones making this team successful. The spirit in the group is phenomenal,” Southgate said this summer.
“The squad mentality is fantastic. That’s uppermost in my mind, looking after those guys,” he concluded.
Coady was arguably the most important member of that quartet.
After all, he has already captained England, an honour Southgate is all too keen to hand him again: “He’s got that real infectious personality,” the former defender remarked.
“He ended up with the armband and I wouldn’t have hesitated to give it to him at the start.”
The Wolves star’s performances have been top drawer for a while now but he owes much of his career to Nuno Santo.
Kenny Jackett signed the 28-year-old for just £2m from Huddersfield Town back in 2015 but it was Nuno who transformed him from a central midfielder to a centre-back.
He is calm on the ball and his sweeping abilities make him a natural fit for a position in a back three that’s been defined as the ‘Conor Coady role’.
The England international plays in the middle of a three-man defence and has rarely missed a game because of his commitment, dedication and attitude to the cause at Molineux.
Dave Edwards once commented: “Two of his main attributes are leadership — he always talks, and now he could see the whole pitch — and his range of passing, which was already good but he’s got better and better at it, to the extent he’s arguably now one of the best passing centre-backs in the Premier League, which is phenomenal.”
Such are his good performances that his transfer value has ultimately soared considerably. From a £2m youngster, the Wolves captain is now rated at £22.5m by Transfermarkt.
It’s unlikely he’d ever move but if the time did come, it’s likely Bruno Lage would demand a hefty fee.