Recently-appointed Charlton Athletic boss Nigel Adkins is probably best known for his spell at Southampton, and interestingly, there are a lot of similarities between then and now.
Both were former Premier League teams who were in rapid decline, both had large potential in terms of support with big all-seater stadia, and both were rescued by foreign investors.
There’s a lot the 56-year-old can take from that reign, which saw the Saints return to the big time after back-to-back promotions. Adkins had several key players, including Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana, and the new Addicks may well have players in a similar mould at The Valley.
Just like Lallana, Albie Morgan came through the academy system at Charlt0n, and whilst the Southampton legend had been a regular for the previous two seasons, the 21-year-old has established himself amongst the first team in south London.
He played a big part in both playoff campaigns, with his versatility and ability on the ball proving key to their fortunes. Indeed, These Football Times explained how Adkins ‘relied on’ the attacking midfielder throughout his tenure, whilst in 98 appearances, Lallana played both on the left and through the middle for him, as per Transfermarkt.
Under Lee Bowyer, Morgan had started to lose his place in the starting line-up, featuring in just two of the new Birmingham boss’ final six games in charge, but in 28 total appearances in all competitions this term, the 21-year-old dynamo has already played in seven different positions.
He has shown an ability to contribute goals, both from central midfield and on the right, having provided two goals and five assists so far. Morgan is among their most creative players, averaging 1.4 key pass per 90 minutes – only two other regularly-featuring Addicks players have managed more, as per WhoScored.
That passing ability was something noted by Bowyer, who told the club’s official website after Morgan’s second professional start: “I thought he was outstanding today in and out of possession. He’s 18-years-old, spraying the ball all over the place. I thought he worked his socks off.”
Again, that draws further similarities to Lallana, who has arguably made a career from being able to spray the ball about from midfield.
Perhaps Adkins already knows this – after all, the young academy gem started his first game in charge against AFC Wimbledon last weekend, playing 71 minutes at right midfield.
Dubbed “improving” and “maturing” by Bowyer, Morgan could well soon emerge as Adkins’ next Lallana in League One.