Coady Reveals Training Forfeits & Tarkowski Influence

An exclusive interview with Conor Coady headlines a bumper matchday programme for Everton’s Premier League visit of Aston Villa on Saturday.

Pick up a copy of the programme, priced £4, around the ground or, alternatively, click here to order a copy online.

In a wide-ranging interview, central defender Coady, who celebrates his 30th birthday on the same day Unai Emery's Villa head to Goodison Park, reveals his extra-curricular commitment, how new manager Sean Dyche is creating a more competitive environment than ever at Finch Farm, the feeling, his personal hopes for the future and much more.

Here is a sneak preview of his chat with us...

Discussing Dyche's emphasis on creating an environment to help players build and maintain a competitive ‘edge’, Coady explains: “I think a lot of it is behind-closed-doors works that supporters don’t see on the training pitch.

“We have to be pushing each other every single day on the training pitch — I think that’s where winners and losers are made.

“Training has to be competitive at all times, not to the point where you’re kicking lumps out of each other but in terms of being desperate to win, being desperate to contribute with a goal or an assist or a block or a tackle. That’s where it starts.

“If you have that every day in training then it becomes normal to carry that on at the weekend. That’s where we’re getting to.

“The gaffer helps with that competitiveness and there’s little forfeits in the sessions that you don’t want to be on the end of — nose flicks, ear flicks and all kinds!

“It’s up to us as players to take the responsibility to carry that through and we’re doing absolutely everything we can to ensure that is the case.”

A popular member of the dressing room, Coady's influence on the atmosphere of the group has been clear for all to see but he is, perhaps, closer to one player than any other.

Coady and fellow central defender Tarkowski have started every Premier League game together since the former arrived on loan from Wolves last August (except for Boxing Day when Coady was ineligible due to his parent club being the visitors at Goodison Park).

It's a relationship that Coady says is as strong off the pitch as it is on it.

"I love him," smiles Coady. "He’s class... One of my best mates.

"I knew about Tarky before I came to the club — I’ve played against him loads of times before and I knew how much of a top player he is.

"I’ve had good battles against him in the past but now coming in and experiencing him every single day — the sort of character he is, the sort of friend he is, the sort of player he is… He’s huge for us.

"He’s a big part of the dressing room and I’ve grown close to him over the months we’ve been here.

"I think he’s brilliant in terms of what he brings and how he holds himself."

Elsewhere in the matchday read, we catch up with Aaron Lennon, who retired from professional football last summer.

The former Blues winger opens up with admirable honesty on his previous battles with mental health, explains why he believes Dyche - whom he worked under at Burnley - is the perfect fit for Everton and why he will always hold the Toffees close to his heart.

Seamus Coleman also features, reflecting on reaching 400 appearances for the Club recently and, of course, his stunning match-winning strike against Leeds United last time out.

For all of this and much more, pick up a copy of the programme, priced £4, around the ground or, alternatively, click here to order a copy online.