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Conor Coady: 'Diversity helps Wolverhampton Wanderers come together'

Conor Coady: 'Diversity helps Wolverhampton Wanderers come together'
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Nuno Espirito Santo's men sit sixth in the Premier League table.

Wolves captain Conor Coady feels a united front within a diverse dressing room has helped the squad tackle whatever is thrown at them.

Nuno Espirito Santo's men reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League following the restart last season and moved into sixth place in the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Leeds on Monday night.

Defender Coady, who earned a first senior England cap during September, believes having so many different backgrounds across the group can only make a positive collective impact on the pitch.

Wolves' multi-cultural squad have made a big impact on the Premier League and in Europe
Wolves' multi-cultural squad have made a big impact on the Premier League and in Europe (Martin Rickett/PA)

"You see our changing room and it is full of people from all over the world," said the 27-year-old defender, who scored for England in the 3-0 friendly win over Wales at Wembley.

"But I think that is what makes us such a good changing room – we come from all over, but we are one as soon as we come into that changing room.

"With my team-mates, it is not necessarily being a captain, it is more being a friend and knowing they can come to me with anything, and if something was to happen – on or off the pitch – all the lads in that changing room know they can ring me straight away.

"We have got quite a big Portuguese contingent, we have got players from France: Romain (Saiss), (Willy) Boly, and Leander (Dendoncker), who is from Belgium, but speaks French. Adama (Traore) is from Spain, but he can speak different languages.

"People will think that everyone sticks to themselves (in cliques), but it is not like that at all. It is a totally different dressing room to what you probably would expect.

"I can't speak highly enough of my team-mates because the way they have approached coming to England and Wolves over the last few years has been absolutely incredible.

"I think for any young person who wants to look up to certain players, you can look in our changing room and learn an awful lot.

"The way they have adapted to this country has been brilliant and I think it helps us come together as well."

As part of the Premier League's No Room For Racism campaign, a series of new educational resources have been produced which are designed to help stimulate discussion on equality and discrimination in the classroom.

The free teaching materials – featuring content from a number of Premier League players such as Coady, Everton's England forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Liverpool striker Divock Origi – will be made available to more than 18,000 primary schools in England and Wales through the Premier League Primary Stars programme.

Coady hopes the message of promoting equality on and off the pitch will continue to thrive.

"We are all realising how important issues like racism and online abuse are becoming for people growing up," said Coady.

"My children are very young, but it is important we educate this next generation of people because we don't want our children going through these same things when they are older.

"We all know that racism is there and it is about not waiting for it to happen, but making sure we do things before it happens."

St Helens-born Coady came through the Liverpool youth ranks before joining Huddersfield in 2014 and then heading to Molineux a year later.

"My eyes are open now that I am older and wiser. I see what's going on, which in this day and age, is absolutely ridiculous," said Coady, who recently signed a new five-year deal with Wolves.

"I think it is something that as you grow older, you see what people actually go through.

"Maybe when I was a kid, I had some sort of blinkers on – I didn't see these things. That is probably my own fault, but for me, things were just normal.

"I was never brought up any different, everybody was the same in my eyes.

"I played football from a very young age where I played with a lot of black footballers, Asian footballers and things were just normal to me. As I said, that was probably my fault that I didn't open up my eyes a little bit more to it."

Coady feels any abuse received by young people needs to be tackled head on and out in the open.

"As soon it happens tell someone, straight away. Don't bottle it up because that will make it even worse," he said.

"It is important that you report it – tell your parents or friends – people who can make things happen.

"I think it is important you tell them straight away because if you are sat in your bedroom at home, you start bottling it up and it becomes so much worse.

"I could never imagine my children seeing something like that and not telling me, I would be absolutely devastated."


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