Michael Farrow's sports blog

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…on Freddy Adu

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Freddy Adu needs to define himself and whether he plays wide or plays in the middle, he needs to complete his all-round game

Another season is soon to be upon us and we are presented with another round of “where’s Freddy Adu going to play this year”.  After being deemed surplus to requirements at Aris Thessaloniki, FC Sion have trialled him and passed.   Some are calling for a return to MLS but with Benfica having a contract with him until 2011, it seems unlikely, unless there is some sort of loan deal struck. I suppose it is the way it goes with players from across the world trying their luck in Europe that they bounce around until they give up but the penny needs to drop for Adu; he needs to define himself.

Not quite a midfielder, not quite a forward, very one-footed.  It’s difficult to pigeon-hole Adu but he’s not very much of anything and that’s part of the problem.  He is reasonably quick, he has skill, he sometimes picks a pass but there’s not the clear objective of what he can and can’t do that can be laid onto a team in a standard formation.  Essentially, Adu is the greatest third division player there never was.

With his left foot, you would think he should be shaped and moulded into a winger.  Aris played him wide left with mixed results and was not good enough to be kept on.   He could be a small striker but isn’t quick enough and he only seems to be able to get into it when he’s on the ball and doesn’t move quite as well off it. The issue is doing what he needs to do at the right time. Too often he’s losing the ball trying the flamboyant or being greedy, wasting possession instead of keeping it.  There are question marks defensively too.

If he were a native European and looking down the barrel of this particular gun, he would be looking to drop down a level and either catch on where he can get a game or, possibly, reinvent himself in another position.  Grant Wahl makes the point in his bittersweet Sports Illustrated article that Monaco loved him at first but felt he lacked basic tactical knowledge.  The Greeks feel much the same.   Tellingly, Sion towed the company line and stated that he did not fit into their plans.  Whose plans could he fit into?  He can only do it with what he physically has and so he needs to re-tailor his game to his body shape and physical abilities.

Adu could likely do it on the left side of a front three, very much a vogue formation across Europe but he needs to learn, he needs to defend and he needs to keep the ball better or rejections, like the one from Sion, will be the way of the future unfortunately.  With the way MLS is going, where patience is now a premium, I’m not sure it will be the best place to rework his game.

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Written by Michael Farrow

August 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Football

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. Agreed on his downfalls. It’s unfortunate that the cycle for Adu is self-perpetuating: He needs games to work on possession and defending, but he needs to know how to defend and maintain possession before he gets games. At this point, I think a return to MLS could be just the thing for him as long as he’s returning with his head down and ready to work hard. Staying in Europe just to say you play in Europe isn’t working for him, but at 21, a reinvention of his game isn’t impossible.

    Alex Haueter

    August 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    • I agree. It’s a trap many players fall into and it’s part of the problem with the US system. You play well in MLS, somebody is interested and so you go to a big European club to get better and if you can’t get a game you can’t get any better. So you go back to MLS and play in a league where you get no protection from referees and every coach knows they’re one bad run away from being canned. It must really suck. No wonder so many college players in recent years seem to skip MLS and go straight to the lower divisions in Europe.

      Big Nige

      August 17, 2010 at 10:21 am


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