Adama Traore - The jet-heeled maverick's time has run out...
There have been many games over the last year and a half when I've cried out for the rapid Adama to come on and change a lacklustre Boro performance either in the Premier League or this season in the Championship, but I'm beginning to question whether his potential is now becoming something of a burden.
This, after all, this is a man who Barcelona have failed to coach, this automatically should raise alarm bells as if he was a player of any potential Barca would've installed a buy-back clause. On top of this, you'd hope he was a good trainer at the age of 21 and someone dedicated to his craft. Once again, I don't get this impression of Adama from teammate accounts, Instagram and stories of his general attitude. He's been accused of being late many times for training and he famously missed the trip to Barnsley due to his lack of tardiness.
His speed is almost as much of a curse as much as it is a blessing, there's a common misconception that wingers have to be fast and skilful. The antithesis of Adama, in my opinion, is none other than David Beckham and I'll explain why.
Adama is stronger and faster than Beckham would've ever dreamed of being in his hay day, but paradoxically a team with the slower Beckham in it is actually quicker and more dynamic. Adama in an attempt to fully utilise his pace needs to do one of two things A) (hit full speed on a counter-attack e:g Arsenal or Spurs) or B) slow the opposing winger and fullback to a standstill before using his acceleration against them.
Each one of these options takes time and the latter option allows the opposing team to bank up again and gets bodies behind the ball. Beckham may not have the speed or exciting runs of an Adama but that's simply because he doesn't need to because he can bypass teams before they've reset themselves. Here are some example videos...
(May I also add these assists were from inside his own half)
Beckham to Raul - 5-6 seconds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2pPoqxZDaY)
Beckham to Zidane - 4 seconds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UJp1kOjkg4)
(Adama vs Adomah, notice Adomah's clips end up with either goals or assists!)
The game against Bristol City for me was the last straw because I saw too many of the same failings from Adama over and over. Run out of play (check), fail to see a Boro player in a better position and shoot himself (check), leave his fullback exposed (check). I was also looking forward to seeing him play on the left as I felt this may suit him better with more space to attack, but for me, this simply highlighted how tactically inept he is at this moment. Rather than trying to beat teams all his own he needs to look to be playing quick one-twos and pulling players away from his teammates instead of being a magnet for fouls.
In my mind's eye, he sums up everything wrong about Middlesbrough right now. A player with a big reputation and potential not willing to graft and put the work in unlike someone like Luke Freeman who's less than glamorous but has been the most creative player in the Championship this year.
Would you keep Adama or look for a fee in January?