‘I’m not a tourist’: England defender Conor Coady laughs off World Cup criticism

Conor Coady is part of the England squad in Qatar (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)
Conor Coady is part of the England squad in Qatar (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

Conor Coady insists he is not a World Cup “tourist” and will do whatever is asked of him in Qatar despite still getting stick for his role at the European Championship.

The Everton defender – currently on loan from Wolves – was unofficially crowned England’s player of the tournament last summer as they lost on penalties to Italy in the final, despite not making a single appearance.

Assistant manager Steve Holland bestowed Coady with the honour for his spirit in and around the group.

But, while the 29-year-old will not kick up a fuss if he goes another major international tournament without kicking a ball, he does not intend to just be along for the ride.

Asked what a good tourist looks like at a World Cup, Coady replied: “He has just called me a tourist!

“I don’t think of myself as that if I’m being honest, I think of myself as a player who’s coming to try and affect, to try and help as much as I possibly can and to push everyone.

“I’ve said it plenty of times before, if you’re not going to play in a team, what are you going to do?

“You’re going to sit and talk and go back to your room or are you going to try and give the best of yourself to try and push people as much as you possibly can?

“That’s all I want to do, I want to help if I’m called upon, I’ll be there to help as much as I can. But in terms of thinking myself as that (a tourist) I don’t.

“I think of myself as a football player that will try and help as much as I can and I won’t change that attitude, I won’t change that way of playing.”

While he was praised internally for his contribution at the Euros, Coady revealed he has been the butt of plenty of jokes having been bestowed with the honour from Holland.

“I get loads about the Euros and different things but it’s just the most exciting time in the world for everybody,” he said.

“A World Cup comes around every four years and it’s something that we all look forward to and I’m no different.

“I’m just lucky enough that I get to come and play with these fantastic players, I get to come and work under a fantastic manager and all his staff and enjoy every minute of it.

He has just called me a tourist! I don't think of myself as that if I'm being honest, I think of myself as a player who's coming to try and affect, to try and help as much as I possibly can and to push everyone

Conor Coady

“What I always will say is that I’ll come up and give the best of myself every single day – if I’m called upon, fantastic. I’ll be there to help as much as I can and then we’ll see where it goes.”

Coady also reserved special praise for fellow centre-back Harry Maguire, whose form at Manchester United this season has seen him dropped from the side, leading to widespread criticism of his World Cup selection.

“I’ll be honest, we see the same old Harry Maguire every time we come away,” he said.

“I’ve known him since I was kid at Sheffield United, I played with him when I was on loan there and he is a great friend of mine and an even better footballer.

“Listen, he gets a lot of stick, we all see that, I don’t think it’s warranted if I’m honest, because I think he’s a fantastic player and a fantastic human being.

“But we see the same old Harry Maguire every time he comes in and how he plays for England, the leader that he is, the character that he is, is a brilliant person.”

If Coady is unsure of the role he has in the upcoming games, one man who will be integral to any England success is captain Harry Kane.

The Tottenham striker is just three goals away from becoming the country’s all-time leading male goalscorer.

When asked to name a few strikers who should be feared in the World Cup, Coady replied with a smile: “Of course, I can – the first one is Harry Kane.”