For those who lament the FA Cup having lost its magic, the fact that two Championship clubs plus Hull City make up three of the four semi-finalists this year should bring back a bit of that awe-inspiring majesty that's allegedly been lost. Or it could very well not, but, hey, at least there will be a second division side in Europe next season, right? The web woven by the FA continues to tangle.
Liverpool may have been eliminated in the competition by Arsenal , but there's one Liverpool player who will still make a trip to Wembley this season. Conor Coady, on loan to a Sheffield
Wednesday United side that beat Charlton Athletic 2-0 to advance to the semi-finals, has a chance to shine on the biggest stage of his club career thus far.
"Of course, it’s a huge game for me to show what I can do," the young midfielder said. "It’s a high-profile game, which will have millions of people tuning in, and it’s at Wembley as well. It doesn’t get much bigger than that for any player.
"It’s up to me to show everyone what I can do. This season was always about my development as a player, and I’ve got the rest of the season to continue that work. But the semi-final, being such a high-profile game, might just be the one that sticks in everyone’s mind."
Coady's inability to break into Liverpool's first team has been regularly documented, and he's at a crucial point in his career where although he's now regularly getting the minutes he needs at Sheffield, a decision needs to be made as to whether or not he continues on at Liverpool or moves on elsewhere.
Brendan Rodgers, for all the positive things he might say in passing about Coady, hasn't seemed all that fussed on integrating him into the team since taking over. Rodgers has only played Coady once in all competitions, and on both of Liverpool's pre-season tours in 2012 and 2013, Coady was mysteriously absent while other young players like Adam Morgan or Jordon Ibe were taken along to get some important first-team experience. Morgan has since moved on himself, and Ibe still has a few years ahead of him before anyone needs to worry about his future in red.
"As I say, it’s up to me now to prove I can cut it," Coady reiterated. "That’s what I am aiming for at Wembley, and in the remaining league games as well. It’s a big challenge for me, but I’m well up for it."