Che Adams has been praised for his response to being dropped from Sheffield United’s starting eleven at Millwall earlier this month.
The England under-20 international celebrated his return to the side by scoring the opening goal as Nigel Adkins’ side beat Crewe Alexandra three days ago and is againt set to partner Billy Sharp in attack when United visit Southend on Wednesday.
Adkins said: “Every single one of us, every single human-being, will go through certain situations. We are talking about people with the right attitudes here and that is exactly what Che has shown.
“Che scored a great goal and he could have scored more as well. I thought he did well out there and he showed exactly the right mentality.”
Adams, aged 19, was named on the bench for the trip to The Den following a series of low-key performances in training with Adkins later insisting: “He’s got to realise he’s got to work hard.” But, having impressed coaching staff with his approach since, Adams has re-established himself as the manager’s preferred option alongside fellow centre-forward Billy Sharp.
Sharp, United’s leading goalscorer so far this season, recently pledged to act as a mentor for his strike-partner who only joined the club from non-league Ilkeston 16 months ago.
Adkins, who included seven home-grown players in the squad which beat Crewe on Good Friday, said: “He (Adams) had a good partnership with Billy out there. We’ve got a system that’s attack-minded.
“There were times in the game, the second-half I’m talking about, when we went too deep and ended up with a ‘five’ at the back rather than a ‘three’ which is what we want.
“But the players showed guts, they’ve got that ability to come back. I know everyone will want to talk about Crewe coming back against us but I want to talk about us. First-half, I thought the lads were exceptional, everything we want them to be.”
United are 11th in the table, six points behind sixth-placed Bradford City with eight matches remaining, as they attempt to reach the League One play-offs. Despite acknowledging any margin for error has no disappeared, Adkins will continue to rely heavily on the likes of Adams, Ben Whiteman and Louis Reed during the closing stages of the campaign.
“These youngsters are hungry and they want to learn,” he said. “If we can keep them surrounded with good senior players then that’s so important. Long-term, we need to make sure there’s always that pathway through.
“Yes, sometimes they’ll make mistakes and you’ll get punished by that but they’ll learn from that and, long-term, reap the benefits.”