It’s hard to gaze toward the sports pages this week and not have an opinion on the ‘horror tackle’ saga that has reared its ugly head at the wrong moment for both Gareth Bale and Charlie Adam. While some will side with the Scotsman, feeling that he has been unfairly persecuted, others will, in equal measure, side with the Welshman, who believe that the word ‘friendly’ has been ignored and that the challenge was agenda-driven. Regardless of who was right or wrong, if anyone, this story will not have been well received by either party. Bale is under pressure from many on these shores after pulling out of the Team GB squad through injury, only to then play a major part in Tottenham’s pre-season matches. Meanwhile, Charlie Adam is in serious danger of slipping down the pecking order at Anfield. This coverage has condemned him even further, which subsequently decreases his popularity, which has been dwindling in any case given his distinctly average performances for Liverpool in his debut season. The question will have to be answered as to whether Adam can suitably perform at such a consistently high level and if his future lies at Liverpool.
Making his mark on the English game seemed to come easy to Adam. Having moved to Blackpool from Rangers in the summer of 2009, the Scotsman shined brighter than his new hometown’s renowned pleasure beach. Appearing to be a class apart from the majority of the Seasiders, praise was heaped his way that indicated a big money move could be on the horizon. However, were we all deceived? With the greatest respect to Blackpool who impressed immensely in their short stint in the top flight, Adam may have been a big fish in a small pond. His influence on the club was notable but for a team as successful and demanding as Liverpool, his affect seems absent. Many of his most memorable moments in Tangerine were by-products of his set piece strength, often using his unquestionably good left foot to steer free kicks right into the stanchion, with penalty taking also providing similar success. However, despite the value of dead ball situations nowadays, Adam cannot be left to linger at Liverpool just in lieu of his set piece abilities. There are other players at Liverpool who have as much success with a dead ball as Adam, who are better overall players. The Scotsman lacks pace, a key attribute when asserting oneself in a Premier League midfield. His sense of positioning is also somewhat questionable, often being caught languishing way up the field and subsequently having to illegally stop a player with greater pace. Adam’s success at Blackpool may be down to confidence. He was the talisman of the Tangerines; their star player. Moving to Liverpool where a number of high performing, justifiably egocentric players ply their trade, may have disenchanted the 26-year-old.
The future of Charlie Adam lies in the Brendan Rodgers bible of tactics that all football supporters would love to take a glimpse at. Should the new man at the helm decide that Anfield still has a place for Adam, that place is most likely to be the bench. The man who promised so much and delivered… not so much, may be better off reigniting his career at a club where he can shine and become the local hero. He may just have to wait until the ‘horror tackle’ demonising fades into the background, but once this becomes chip paper, he may seek out a new home that will welcome him with open arms. It probably won’t be Spurs though…
Liverpool fans, have your say. Do you think Adam has a chance to excell next season? Is he good enough for your team? Let me know on twitter @mattpegg1