Che Adams, who rejected offers from Newcastle and Sunderland before moving to Bramall Lane, could be handed a starring role at Sheffield United next season after Nigel Clough admitted the player had proved a point during the League One play-offs.
United’s dreams of promotion were dashed at the semi-final stage earlier this month when they were beaten by Swindon Town.
But Adams, whose entrance as a second-half substitute helped turn the tide of a thrilling second leg in Wiltshire, is set to reap the benefits of his swashbuckling cameo at the County Ground - possibly, the United manager warned, at the expense of more established names.
“Sometimes, you can fall into the trap of looking at what Che doesn’t do,” Clough told The Star. “But it’s time now to start looking at what he does.
“The great thing is that, even at such an early stage, Che seems to be fearless in the big games. He scored one, had a goal harshly disallowed and had three other shots. Matty Done scored from the rebound off one of those, I think.
“Che contributed as much as some of the really experienced lads, if not, towards the end, even more.”
Adams announced his arrival from non-league Ilkeston when he scored twice during United’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur four months ago. That display, combined with his performance at Swindon, has convinced Clough to let him off the leash when United begin preparing for their next assault on the Championship.
Reflecting on the 5-5 draw with Mark Cooper’s side, which followed a 2-1 defeat in South Yorkshire, Clough said: “Che had a goal disallowed and that was unlucky. He was adamant that he didn’t touch their lad. He showed exactly the type of attitude we wanted and why we brought him here.
“It’s fine margins. We could easily have been talking about going to Wembley ourselves. Some of it is self-inflicted, yes. Some of it’s not.”