As Steven Gerrard prepares to make history by becoming the sixth footballer ever to win 100 caps for England, young Liverpool midfielder Conor Coady will captain the Under-19 side in NextGen action in far less glamorous surroundings.

Coady will be leading his side out at Langtree Park in front of a few hundred supporters and dreaming of one day following in the footsteps of Gerrard who made his England debut as a 19-year-old on May 31, 2000.

Back then Gerrard was largely viewed as a defensive midfielder who was undaunted by any challenge. His crispness in passing and ability to drive forward was there for all to see, but he was often used as a utility man, even slotting in at right-back when needed.

Conor Coady
Coady in action during pre-season in 2011 [Reuters]

Coady has also been asked to help out in defence but it is his displays in the Liverpool youth side that have led to comparisons to Gerrard. Now 19-years-old, and having made his senior debut in the 1-0 Europa League defeat to Anzhi Makhachkala, he will be hoping to force his way into the first team plans of manager Brendan Rodgers.

At the Liverpool academy since the age of 8, Coady has already accomplished a feat which means his name will be associated with a piece of England history. The midfielder captained the Three Lions to Under-17 success in Liechtenstein, becoming the first England player to lift a trophy for 17 years.

His dynamic displays in the heart of midfield for both Liverpool and England have almost inevitably led to comparisons with Gerrard. In fact the FA website gives the youngster a glowing reference.

"A real box-to-box player, whose style of play has seen him likened to Liverpool club-mate Steven Gerrard in the past, Coady has previously been capped at U16 level too and acts like the heart-beat of a team by providing support to the attack and steel in the defence."


Having demonstrated his leadership throughout his progression at Liverpool, Coady suitably impressed former manager Kenny Dalglish who used the midfielder in the summer of 2011 when on a pre-season tour of America.

"There is no limit to what these young players can achieve when they are ready," said Dalglish, before turning his attention to Coady. "It wasn't just Conor, although he scored a terrific goal. There were a few of them out there, playing in very difficult conditions and they came through. We are very fortunate to have them and they are going to be with us for a very long time to come."

The likes of Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso have already been promoted from the academy; the trio all having played alongside Coady who will be hoping he can join them in the Liverpool first team.

Asked about his debut, it became apparent that the occasion meant everything to the midfielder who would have stood in the Kop idolising the likes of Gerrard and, the man he lined up alongside, Jamie Carragher.

"I loved it. It is every boy's dream to make his debut for Liverpool," said Coady. "I felt I had a good game. The gaffer is going to give youngsters a chance and for myself to get a chance was fantastic. I put my all into it and was made up to make my debut.

"You have to be patient and bide your time and hopefully your chance will come. You just have to keep working hard in training."

Rodgers is keen to take advantage of the talent that is currently coming through the Melwood training facility and Coady could well be the next youngster to make a big impression in the first team.

Just as Gerrard began to make headlines with his assured performances alongside Jamie Redknapp, Coady will hope that he is handed the opportunity to line up alongside the legendary Liverpool captain.

The Liverpool faithful have always held a special place in their hearts for their own, if Coady can go some way to emulating the achievements of Gerrard then he is sure to become a firm favourite on Merseyside.