“They have some quality players, but the key thing is to stay a team. You don’t want certain individuals thinking they are Pele. I won’t mention any names. Put two and two together and you can work it out.”
Stephen Hunt may have had this veiled criticism of Charlie Adam’s on pitch demeanor for Scotland during the Carling Nations Cup but it is exactly this arrogance that will help the midfield playmaker to dine at football’s top table.
Adam had a spectacular campaign on an individual note last time out, at times looking as though he would singlehandedly keep Blackpool above the drop zone. As a result he has been linked with some of the Premier Leagues top clubs including champions Manchester United and Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool. He silenced his many critics with some outstanding performances against the top sides such as Man United home and away.
Most of the doubters had good reason to question Adam’s ability to compete at the top level though after numerous abject performances for Rangers led to him being shoved out the Ibrox door. During his tenure in Glasgow Adam at times produced moments of brilliance which showcased his true ability, but all too often he flattered to deceive.
Forced to play out wide due to heavy competition in the middle from the likes of Pedro Mendes, Adam looked as though he was towing a caravan as he laboured up and down the left flank. With the team underperforming Adam became the scapegoat and any confidence the youngster had soon evaporated. His fitness was questioned, at times ridiculed, and this led many to question his desire.
He was sent to what was seen as the footballing scrapheap by many as he was loaned to lowly Championship side Blackpool. Having left the Old Firm goldfish bowl though Adam felt a weight of his shoulders and he rediscovered the arrogance that made him the talent that led to him being lauded as a teenager.
Coupled with this, Ian Holloway was willing to feed Adam’s ego and made him the fulcrum of the team. This allowed Adam to operate in the centre midfield role he so craved and his ability on the ball was made apparent for all to see. An excellent range of passing, impressive shot and some unstoppable set pieces meant Adam drew numerous plaudits and his confidence grew further.
Blackpool and Adam were riding the crest of a wave that brought them to the Premier League and led to an excellent start to the season. Unfortunately the tide came in and Blackpool were left stranded in the choppy waters of a relegation dogfight as Adam’s form and consequently Blackpool’s threat disappeared. A late resurgence by the Scotland ace was almost enough to keep Blackpool up but it proved too little too late.
There is no doubt that the former Rangers man is a good footballer. Every so often it appears he has believed his own hype though. Some terrible performances where he tries to do it all on his own and looks for the long pass every single time have added fuel to the fire as the sceptics search for ammunition to fire in Adam’s direction.
It remains to be seen as to whether Adam is only capable of performing when he is a big fish in a small pond or as to whether he is capable of becoming a major player at a top club. We will soon find out though as the big clubs battle for his signature.
Liverpool and Tottenham remain interested whilst Manchester United have been linked with a move for Adam as they seek a replacement for Paul Scholes. A move to Old Trafford may well be Adam’s dream but seems unlikely because United are interested in Arsenal midfield dynamo Samir Nasri as they look for a big-name midfield signing to replace the legendary Scholes. Adam could well end up at Villa Park as McLeish looks to stamp his identity on his Aston Villa side. All this remain speculation though. What is clear is that ‘Big Time Charlie’ will be granted his ticket to the ‘Big Time’.