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Secret Diary of a Euro Starlet - Conor Coady

Luis Suarez!
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NOTE: Not all of you will want to/have the time to read this, but I thoroughly recommend it, just went through it all and it really gives a sense of the atmosphere around the Liverpool youths at the moment. I think I speak for all Liverpool fans when I say that I hope Kenny keeps on giving the youngsters these opportunities, and if you disagree, read this and perhaps you'll change your mind.


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In an exclusive diary for Liverpoolfc.tv, Conor Coady provides a behind-the-scenes look at a week he regards as the best of his fledgling career to-date - read his account or watch the video online now.

From netting his first goal at the Kop end and discussing music with Carra through to firing home a goal of the month contender against Stoke City - it's fair to say these are exciting times for the promising starlet.

A place on the substitutes' bench at the Generali Arena last Thursday was the piece de resistance and capped a six day period that just seemed to get better and better.

Here's his lowdown on what it was like to be Liverpool's U18 skipper turned first-team No.35:


MONDAY

A mix of nerves and excitement.

That was what gripped me throughout Monday morning.

I was kicking my heels at home trying to get my mind focused on our FA Youth Cup match with Southend. I don't usually get nervous before games but because it was a cup tie at Anfield I could feel the butterflies.

There was no way we were going to let complacency get the better of us. Rodolfo (Borrell) had made sure of that. We knew that Southend were a good team and that our preparations had been spot on.

I was just desperate to get out there and help book our place in the last eight.

The pre-match meal at the Academy flew by and we were finally on our way to the ground. I've only had the honour of playing at Anfield on a couple of occasions but whenever the coach pulls up outside those gates, it alway gives me a special feeling.

We selected our pegs in the home changing room and Rodolfo began to give his team talk. He can be very inspiring and instils a great sense of belief in all of us.

That was enough to get us all in the mood but when Kenny Dalglish poked his head around the door he had everyone buzzing.

He didn't address us as a whole. He just came around, shook everyone's hand and had a private word with each of us.

I was expecting some pearls of wisdom, something that would help me make a big impact on the game. But when he got to me he didn't say anything about Southend. He just referred back to a game I had played for England U19s a few weeks earlier and said that he was made up that I had missed a volley!

That's Kenny for you. He always likes a bit of banter! It's that type of personal touch that can really motivate and relax you ahead of a big match.

Everyone knows what happened during the game. We went on to win rather handsomely but it might not have been so easy.

Stephen Sama was forced to clear off the line early on and my heart was in my mouth for a moment. I was worried it might turn out like Watford last year but once Raheem (Sterling) got the opener we settled down and played well as a team.

He went on to score five and he played very well. All of his goals were good but I think his second was the pick of the bunch.

With the scoreboard reading 2-0, Morgo (Adam Morgan) went down in the penalty area at the Kop end. The referee pointed to the spot and I immediately thought, 'Give me the ball!'

Morgo went to pick it up himself but he was never getting it! Never in a million years! This was my moment and I was not going to miss it.

It was a boss feeling to score at the Kop end. Taking a penalty is always a nervous moment but I remained calm and managed to put it away.

We couldn't stop scoring after that and walked in at half-time six goals to the good. As we sat down, Rodolfo looked at us and said: "It isn't good enough. You aren't playing as well as you can, so you must work harder in the second half!"

We were all a bit shocked but to be fair to him, he's usually right. He talks a lot of sense and is a great manager to work under. He just didn't want us to take our foot off the pedal.

I thought we did well after the break and put a good shift in. We won 9-0 and I have to admit that was a first for me! I've never played in a game like that and maybe we could have had more by the end.

We were all buzzing in the dressing room. Last year we didn't get past the fifth round so it was a big deal for us. We didn't really celebrate as such, we were all just looking to relax and take it easy.

It was then that I was told that I would be heading up to Melwood the next day to train with the first-team. That capped off what had been a great night.


TUESDAY

We arrived at Melwood at 9.30am sharp.

There was Tom Ince, Jack Robinson, John Flanagan, Raheem Sterling and myself.

It's always a great thrill to drive through the Melwood gates and I could tell that the other four lads felt the same way as me.

We turned up thinking that we were going to be heavily involved with the first-team's training session but in the end we just did some recovery work. That was good for us because it meant we weren't going to over-exert ourselves following the exploits of the previous night.

We were then taken aside and informed that we would need to dig out our passports. We were going to Prague.

I'd been with the team to a league game at Wolves but this was another level. This was a European encounter and this time I was going to be part of the squad.

I was straight on the phone to my Dad to let him know. Within seconds he had told my mum and my brother. They were made up for me.

I was on a real high and I think I must have got about three hours sleep that night! I couldn't wait to get on the plane. I've grown up as a Liverpool fan so it's always been a dream to go with the team for a big game in Europe. Now I was about to realise it.


WEDNESDAY

The morning couldn't come quick enough. I was at Melwood nice and early, ready for my European adventure.

We had breakfast in the canteen and then set off for Liverpool airport. It was a totally new experience. Travelling with players you idolise and look up to is a really strange sensation.

I couldn't get over the plane journey. It was great. We had big leather seats all to ourselves. It was perfect for kicking back and watching some films.

When we landed there were lots of fans waiting for us. It was the same when we got to the hotel. All of the Academy lads were pinching themselves. We couldn't believe we were there.

I was rooming with Jack Robbo (Robinson) and we had a good laugh. We chilled out in the room in the afternoon and had a bit of a battle on the Playstation!

In the evening we joined the rest of the squad for a training session at the Generali Arena. That was an experience in itself and we all took a moment to savour the occasion.

It was a brilliant day and when we got back to the hotel it wasn't long before I was in bed! I was exhausted!

I know Kenny joked that Raheem was doing his homework but he didn't miss out on much. We were all knackered so we just got an early night in.


THURSDAY

How does a Liverpool player kill time on the day of a European match?

Well, I soon realised that there's no time to do any sightseeing or anything like that!

It was a very relaxed start to the morning. Everything is done in a really down-to-earth way and that helped all the young lads feel at ease.

We had breakfast and then set off for a very light session down at Sparta Prague's training ground. It was nice to get out of the hotel and stretch our legs.

After that it was just a case of waiting. I had a good rest between 1.30pm and 5.30pm and got my head down for a bit.

Next up was the team meeting. None of us were really expecting to be involved so when I heard my name I couldn't believe it. In fact, for a second I thought I must have misheard the boss but when I got a few winks and nods from the lads I realised what was happening.

Not long after that we took the coach to the ground. I was pleased that I didn't have too long to think about being on the bench. I just wanted to get out there and focus on the match.

I remember looking out the window watching hordes of supporters making their way to the ground. I was thinking that it was usually me out there walking up to watch Liverpool at Anfield. I was buzzing and just wanted to take everything in.

It's hard to explain how you feel to be honest. You're standing in the changing room with the likes of Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt and Jamie Carragher and they are all talking to you, giving you advice. You can see how professional they all are and that's all invaluable experience for a kid like me hoping to be a full-time part of that someday in the future.

It was funny because Dirk put a few pre-match tunes on through some speakers. An Adele song came on called 'Rolling in the Deep'. Carra started singing it as he was getting a massage on the bench next to me. I asked him if he was into it and he said, 'yeah, this is a bit of me this lad.'

He asked me what I had on my iPod but I told him he wouldn't be into the stuff I like. He laughed and said 'go on, stick it on, don't be shy!'

It was brilliant banter and really made me feel part of it. I had a good laugh but politely declined to put my music on! Maybe next time!

The starting XI were all ready and they were the first to head outside for the warm-up. I wanted to go too but realised that wasn't how it was done. I was standing with the other subs chomping at the bit to get out there.

'Let's go,' I kept muttering.

Finally we made our way to the pitch and I wasn't disappointed. I've never played in front of a big crowd like that before and I loved it, even if it was just a warm-up.

Kenny didn't say anything specifically to me. Steve Clarke and Sammy (Lee) just told me to be ready and keep warm in case they did have to throw me on.

The game was a bit of blur. There was a bit of banter on the bench with the likes of Kells (Martin Kelly) and (Martin ) Skrtel but I wasn't really taking it in. I was living the boyhood dream with Liverpool so I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Running up and down the touchline was a real rush. I was desperate to get on but could see that as the game progressed it wasn't going to happen. I'm the type of player that wants to be involved in every game, so I was hopeful I might get a minute or two. But having said that, if you had told me a few days earlier I'd be an unused substitute I'd have ripped your arm off!

It was an amazing experience.

The trip home happened all too fast. We got the coach to the airport straight from the ground and before we knew it we were on our way back to the UK. I think I fell asleep halfway through 'Stomp the Yard'.

I was in a world of my own to be fair. So much so that when we got back to Melwood in the early hours of the morning I forgot to give Raheem a lift home! The coach ended up having to drop him off after everyone had left! He wasn't too impressed!


FRIDAY

It was back to reality. Raheem and I both reported for a light session at the Academy with Mark Hulse.

We did a bit of shooting and a bit of speed work to make sure our legs weren't too stiff from the plane journey.

It had been a great week but we were well aware of the importance of keeping our feet on the ground.

We had a good chat with Rodolfo too. He's the type of man who doesn't hand out plaudits so readily but he shook our hands and told us we had done well. He congratulated us but told us we had to get back to the real world and look to work hard in Saturday's U18 game against Stoke.

To be honest, I couldn't wait to play. That's what I love doing and was raring to get 90 minutes under my belt.

I was still shattered though and went back to bed as soon as I got home. I knew I'd need my rest because I was back with the U18 lads in the morning and didn't want to let them down.


SATURDAY

When we arrived at the Academy there were a lot people congratulating us.

It was a strange feeling but nothing was going to alter the fact we had a job to do. There was a game to be won and I was looking forward to skippering the lads against Stoke.

They had beaten us 1-0 earlier in the season so we were well aware that they were a good side. We knew we had to be on our game and I think we played very well to run out 4-1 winners.

I got the opening goal with what is probably the best one of my career so far.

I think I sent Craig (Roddan) into the box for the set piece. I'm the one who usually gets in there for corners but on this occasion I held a position just outside the area.

The ball bounced out for me and luckily enough I caught it just right. It was definitely one of the sweetest shots I've ever hit. I don't score that many so I'm made up with that.

That gave us the lead we were looking for and soon after we were 2-0 ahead thanks to another goal from Raheem. It came as a result of some great play by Brad Smith down the left wing.

Brad's come on so much this year. He's a very steady left-back and you know that you'll always get a really good performance from him.

At that point we were flying but Stoke managed to hit back when Patrik Poor headed into his own net. I think we were happy to go in 2-1 at half-time and calm it down a bit.

Rodo spoke to us and got us in the right frame of mind to go out and play our game again.

We managed to do that and Morgo and Raheem added to the scoresheet to give us a comfortable victory in the end. It was our sixth on the spin and the best possible way to cap an amazing week for me personally.

Now I just want to keep pushing on. I want to keep doing well with the U18s and get as far in the Youth Cup as possible. Obviously I'd love to get more chances to train at Melwood and hopefully I can do enough to get noticed.

There were some great moments throughout the week but being on the bench in Prague has to be the highlight. It was just brilliant. I might have lifted a trophy with England but this is the best week of my career so far.

Liverpool is my club, it's the one I love and the team I want to play for when I'm older. Hopefully I can make that happen in the future.


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http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/latest-news/secret-diary-of-a-euro-starlet#comments


If mods think this would be better suited in the Europe section, please feel free to move it :)
 
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Good read, he seems really down to earth hope he has a good future in football.
 
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It is like reading Stevie Gs autobiography:D I am not saying anything negative, I'm just saying if he can write like Stevie I hope he can play better then him in the future:D YNWA!
 
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It is like reading Stevie Gs autobiography:D I am not saying anything negative, I'm just saying if he can write like Stevie I hope he can play better then him in the future:D YNWA!
You do know that players like gerrard don't write there own autobiography its written for them.
 
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You do know that players like gerrard don't write there own autobiography its written for them.
I agree:D But not every footballer does that. There are ones whose hobby is this - writing diary.
 
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Ill be honest and say i havent read it cus i got bored after the first few lines :p

but i really hope he makes it into the LFC First team.. looks a v.good prospect
 
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