Sheffield United: Che in dreamland after career revolution

Che Adams celebrates the second of his two goals against Tottenham Hotspur � copyright : Blades Sports Photography
Che Adams celebrates the second of his two goals against Tottenham Hotspur � copyright : Blades Sports Photography
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He sent journalists frantically trawling through internet search engines and Tottenham Hotspur into an almighty spin, writes James Shield.

So who is Che Adams? The Sheffield United forward whose brace against Mauricio Pochettino’s side saw him go from being a nobody to somebody in the space of three short minutes.

“I’m just a lad who enjoys football,” Adams said. “Loves it in fact.

“There’s nothing special to really tell you. That’s about all there is apart from the fact that Thierry Henry is my favourite player I suppose.”

Adams, as his Roy of the Rovers moment during the second-leg of last month’s Capital One Cup semi-final proved, is the down-to-earth kid with a potentially astronomical talent. United fought-off competition from some of the country’s leading clubs, including Newcastle and Sunderland, to secure his services from non-league Ilkeston 14 weeks ago when Kieran Wallace, the former Nottingham Forest midfielder, also swapped the New Manor Ground for Bramall Lane.

A geographically short but, in sporting terms, mammoth journey.

“When I first looked around here, the difference was massive,” Adams said. “The set-up, the training pitch and all of the facilities are brilliant. Different class in fact.

“And then there was the ground. What a buzz it is to play there.

“Going up against people like Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela was the type of thing I grew-up dreaming about so, to begin with, it all felt a bit weird. Weird but brilliant at the same time.

“It’s a real thrill to be able to step out there. It takes some getting used to with the size of the crowd and the noise. All of that.

“I don’t mind admitting I’m always a bit nervous in the tunnel beforehand. But that’s fine because I’d be worried if I wasn’t. I try and feed-off those.

“There were a few people looking at me towards the end of my time (at Ilkeston) but I wanted to come here. It just felt right straight away and everyone has made me feel really welcome.”

Adams chose wisely. Named after the Argentine Marxist Che Guevara - “I’m not sure why. Apparently they found his bones just before I was born” - he nevertheless accepts that evolution, not revolution, is the best way to nurture promising careers.

“That was the biggest factor behind my decision to join Sheffield United,” Adams continued. “Because they are known as being a club that gives youngsters a chance.

“There was no point in me going somewhere if I was going to get lost or not get the opportunity to try and show what I might be able to do. But at least, because you get the chance here, you know if things don’t go well it’s down to you and nothing else.”

“The manager here has been brilliant with me and he’s got that reputation as well. For giving youngsters a go and not being afraid to put them in.

“I’ve learned tons from him and the rest of the lads already. And I know I’m going to learn tons more too. That’s something I’ll try and grasp with both hands.”

The challenge facing United’s coaching staff, however, is to equip Adams with the tools required to become an accomplished professional without stripping him of the raw enthusiasm which seemingly caught Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier unaware.

“We think Che is as exciting as anybody else we’ve seen at this level,” Clough said. “That’s why there was so much interest in him and why we were so pleased that he chose here.

“But there’s still so much for him to learn. We’ll do our best to teach him and bring him through in the right manner. Then, as it is with all young players, the rest is up to him.

“The good thing about Che, and Kieran too for that matter, is that they’re aware they might not be involved every single week but that’s all part of the learning and development process. There’s always something, just by being around the first team squad, you can learn and pick-up. And they want to learn.”

Like his namesake, Adams, who could make his ninth professional appearance when fifth-placed United host Coventry City tomorrow, is used to going against the grain. Indeed, had his career taken a different path, then the Arsenal fan who grew-up in Leicester, could have found himself among the opposition camp.

“I was with Coventry for a bit when I was younger,” Adams said. “But then I left there and ended-up at Ilkeston because they’ve got a really good set-up. I can’t thank them enough for helping me get to where I am now but there’s still lots for me to do.”

Twitter: @JamesShield1

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