March 5, 2021

‘I’d probably panic!’ – England defender Coady anxious over potential Messi meeting in Premier League

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The Wolves captain is excited, if slightly nervous, about the idea of the Barcelona legend moving to the English top-flight

Wolves and England defender Conor Coady has admitted he’d “probably panic” at the prospect of facing Lionel Messi in the Premier League. 

Messi has sensationally told Barcelona that he wants to leave the club after 20 years, declaring his intention to activate a clause that will allow him to unilaterally opt out of his contract. 

Though several clubs have been linked, Manchester City have emerged as the favourites to land the Argentine, who would reunite with his former coach Pep Guardiola at the Etihad. 

Coady is excited by the prospect of an all-time great playing in England, though he admitted that the idea of facing off against Messi would also give him a fair bit of anxiety.

“I would probably panic, a lot of panic before the game to try and get my head around playing him,” Coady said.

“You could watch all the videos in the world to try to prepare for someone like him and you would struggle. It would be amazing for him and the Premier League.

“We all know how big the Premier League is. He is his own man and he will decide his future but in terms of the Premier League, if it does happen, it will be absolutely incredible. Let’s see what happens.”

Coady has been handed his first senior England call-up at age 27 after previously representing the Three Lions at youth level. The Wolves captain said after he got the word from manager Gareth Southgate, he had a conversation with his parents who thought he was about to deliver some very different, if still exciting, news.

“I rang my family after with my wife on the call,” Coady recalled. “I said, ‘I have a bit of news for you’ with my arm around my wife and then my mum and dad said, ‘Your missus isn’t pregnant again is she?’”

Though Coady may have thought his chance with England had come and gone after so many years without a call-up, he said he never gave up hope while he focused on performing with his club side.

“I loved watching England, I watch every single game on the telly and I know how hard it is to get into this team and organisation,” Coady said. “To get into the national team is incredible, I watch every game and there are some fantastic centre-backs.

“I was focused on working hard for Wolves, I knew I was at a club if I kept working hard that good things would come. I am here now and I will try to embrace it and enjoy it as well.”

England are set to take on Iceland and Denmark in Nations League games on Saturday and the following Tuesday.