THE family of St Helens-born footballer Conor Coady have spoken of their "pride and excitement" ahead of the final of Euro 2020 final at Wembley tonight, which sees England take on Italy in the final.

Coady is part of the 26-man England squad and although he has yet to play in the tournament he has been praised by the England management for his leadership in the camp and in the dressing room, where he is a vocal presence.

Indeed, his influential role has been highlighted by boss Gareth Southgate and various national media outlets.

Conor – who captains Premier League side Wolves, attended Bleak Hill Primary School and Rainford High and his junior team was Rainford Rangers.

READ> Conor Coady on life in the England camp and what makes Gareth Southgate an exceptional leader

Understandably, there is a huge source of pride among the father-of-three's family, with wife Amie, mum Gail, dad Andy and brother Harrison all joining the relatives at Wembley for the tournament's matches.

Amie Coady and the couples three boys with a poster of their dad

Amie Coady and the couple's three boys with a poster of their dad in a picture shared with the Star by the family

A special good luck message submitted to the The Telegraph newspaper - which compiled statements for all the squad's players from friends and family - was published this weekend.

The Coady family (parents Gail and Andy, Harrison, wife Amie, and sons Henri, Freddie and Louie)

Conor - we can’t tell you how proud we are of all your achievements. We know you are living your absolute dream being selected for your country.

From your early days of playing for Rainford Rangers at the age of five to becoming the captain of Wolverhampton Wanderers and now being involved in one of the best tournaments in world football is just mind blowing – what a journey.

We know in whatever capacity you’re involved on Sunday you will continue to conduct yourself in the professional manner you always have and help your team-mates in any way you can

Good luck, Conor - let’s bring it home.

Gail, who worked as a sales executive at the St Helens Star for 27 years, says the experience of the past few weeks has been "surreal" and and "unbelievable".

She said: "The Germany game was unreal and I didn't think you could top that but on Wednesday in the semi-final you could feel the stadium almost moving under your feet [because of the atmosphere].

"He has not played a minute but he is delighted to be in the squad and he knew from week one what his role was."

Harrison, Gail and Andy Coady with ex-footballers Chris Kamara and Mike Summerbee at Wembley

Harrison, Gail and Andy Coady with ex-footballers Chris Kamara (left) and Mike Summerbee (centre) at Wembley

Such have been Coady's qualities off the field that assistant manager Steve Holland hailed him as his player of the tournament in an interview with the BBC.

The 28-year-old's family say his vocal nature – which became more apparent to onlookers when stadiums did not have supporters in during lockdown – has been part of his make-up since he was a youngster.

But his qualities of resilience have also been shaped by the route he has taken to the top.

After being an England youth international on Liverpool's books (in the same squad as Raheem Sterling), he took the decision to leave the club he supported as a boy because he felt the fierce competition in central midfield (where he then played) would prevent his progression.

After a successful loan with Sheffield United, he moved on to Huddersfield Town for a season before joining Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2015.

It was a decision by manager Nuno Espírito Santo to change Coady's position – to the central defensive figure and distributor in a back three – that catapulted his progression.

Coady captained Wolves to promotion into the Premier League and his consistency finally led to Southgate calling him into the national side a year ago.

Harrison Coady is backign his elder brother

Harrison Coady is backng his elder brother

Conor has been a fixture in the squad ever since, with Southgate swiftly making him part of the leadership group and handing him the armband during a friendly against Austria.

It is his route to the national side "by doing it the hard way" that makes the family, especially proud.

It has not gone unnoticed that other players in the squad have trod similar paths with loans or permanent spells in the lower leagues and there is school of thought that this grounding is one of the reasons the squad has such camaraderie and togetherness.

The family have been flooded with good luck messages, meanwhile, with people who have known Conor from his grassroots club, school and the Haydock community feeling a genuine sense of pride.

Conor has three huge fans in the shape of his sons Henri (5), Freddie (4) and Louie (2), who have all been kitted out in their Three Lions kits during the tournament.

Gail, who was speaking to the Star as she watched Henri play junior football on Saturday morning, says the five-year-old, as the eldest, is understanding what the tournament is about.

Conors three boys Henri, Louie and Freddie in a picture shared by the family

Conor's three boys Henri, Louie and Freddie in a picture shared by the family

The younger two are less aware and are keen to see their daddy – Freddie was briefly singing "Daddy's coming home as Denmark" led 1-0 on Wednesday.

With the final tonight, they won't have to wait too much longer.

A nation has its fingers crossed that Conor will have a winner's medal with him when he does.