CONOR Coady earned plenty of plaudits for his senior Liverpool debut performance against Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow last Thursday – and the 19-year-old midfielder from Haydock loved every minute of it.
The former Rainford High and Rainford Rangers star played the first hour in the Reds Europa League Group A defeat in Russia and received glowing praise from his boss Brendan Rodgers.
But the action was a little closer to home for Coady this week when he skippered Liverpool under 19s to a 4-1 victory over Norwegian outfit Rosenborg at Saints’ Langtree Park.
The level-headed England under 19s skipper, who has been in the Liverpool system since under 8s, was delighted to finally make his debut.
Coady said: “It is what I have worked for over all these years. It is a dream come true to play for the team I support – it was fantastic on the day and I loved every minute of it.
“I have known all along that I just needed to keep my head down and playing well, no matter who else fell by the wayside. That is all I have done and thankfully my chance has come.
“I thought I did well, I kept it simple and kept the ball on the floor and just played footie.
“When I came off Brendan Rodgers shook my hand and said ‘terrific performance’.”
Although Liverpool lost, it was a good experience for Coady, not least because he came up against one of the game’s reputed highest paid players – Samuel Eto’o.
“Eto’o has still got that bit of class about him, but thinking about what he has been like in his time at Inter Milan and Barcelona, it was just fantastic to get out there and play against him,” he said.
With his debut box ticked, the next big landmark for Coady will be his senior Anfield debut.
But again, he is prepared to work hard and be patient for that chance.
“Playing at Anfield would put the icing on the cake – but again it is a case of me keeping working hard on the pitch and in the gym and hopefully it will come.
“It is good to be part of a club that gives young players a chance. Already we have seen a lot of the boys make their debuts like Raheem Sterling and Andre Wisdom. When you look at them going up it gives a lot of Academy boys faith that they can do the same,” he said.
Coady was delighted to run out on his home patch on Tuesday night – and had plenty of personal support there in the crowd.
And he wants to feature in the remaining games to be staged at Langtree Park, starting with the under 21s game against Chelsea on Sunday.
“It is fantastic playing there with me being from St Helens – and being proud of where I am from.
“We have got a good reserve team here so it is brilliant for us to come here. It is a fantastic ground and we will have a good following here,” Coady said.
Sunday’s game kicks off at 2pm with tickets £6 for adults and £3 for juniors.