Have you heard about our latest academy-prospect fresh from the Rockcliffe Park assembly line?
Adam Taylor, 21, is a tricky winger. Full of pace and strong enough even at this age not to be bullied by agricultural Championship defenders, he’s capable of those moments of magic that can change a game.
Sure, he can be inconsistent, but that’s to be expected at such a tender age? With time comes reliability. Even better, he’s a local lad from Linthorpe.
Do you like the sound of this?
Did I say Adam Taylor from Linthorpe? What I meant to say was Adama Traore from L’Hospitalet!
What’s my point you may ask? If Adama was a local lad of 21 from the academy, we’d all be wetting ourselves about his potential rather than haranguing him for what he can’t yet do.
— The Good The Bad The Boro ⚽️🔴⚪️ (@GoodBadBoro) September 9, 2017
Think that I’m exaggerating? At 20 years old, we were all excited about Adam Reach coming back to Boro after a good season in League 1 for Bradford. At 20 years old, we were bemoaning a lack of end product from a Traore who was terrifying international level full backs in the Premiership.
Still think that I’m exaggerating? For further context, look at Harry Chapman. For all Boro fans are rightly excited about his potential, Harry turns 20 in November and is struggling to get a start at Blackburn in League 1. Say what you want about Adama, but at 20 years of age he would have torn up League 1.
So why do we rollick our rapid winger? We are undoubtedly more patient with ‘one of our own’. I think that Traore’s fee worked against him, but the size of that is proportional to his potential. If he was the finished article, he’d have been at a bigger club than Boro.
Adama also suffered from the departure of Adomah. I believe that he was only ever intended to be back up last season, but Albert’s refusal to sign a new contract thrust young Traore into the spotlight, especially with only a stuttering Stuani as competition to play wide right.
Adama’s ability also works against him too, in that his ability to glide past defenders makes it somehow more disappointing if he fails to deliver a telling final ball. But remember that this is almost always the final piece of the jigsaw in the puzzle that is a young, inconsistent winger. Downing was sent out on loan to Championship minnows Sunderland aged 20 to hone his skills.
Adam Johnson suffered the indignity of being loaned to Leeds. Even Cristiano Ronaldo was critcised very early in his career for a lack of end product. If Adama ends up even 10% as good, we’ll have a hell of a player on our hands.
It hasn’t been easy in England for Adama either. Imagine a young lad of 19 leaving the likes of Pep and Luis Enrique in Barcelona to roll up to ‘tactics’ Tim Sherwood in Birmingham. I’d be on the first plane back to Spain.
Then you find yourself playing for a manager in Karanka, who had an awful track record in diminishing the attacking talents of players, who demeans you by making sure that you are always on the flank in front of him so that you never stray more than 20 yards in front of your full back. Hardly the way to build confidence in a young player.
So I can understand why Traore felt like he maybe needed a fresh start away from England. I saw him make his Boro debut against Spurs at the Riverside.
He transformed the tepid, terrified Teessiders, into one that troubled a top Tottenham team. Yesterday at Bolton he answered some of his critics that deride his end product and provided a perfect riposte to those transfer rumours. Let’s hope this is the sign of things to come.
If it is, enjoy the blur of Traore in a Boro shirt zipping past the opposition while it lasts, because it won’t be long before the big boys come calling.