After an unbeaten pre-season for Nigel Adkins’ men there was one man who stood out from the rest of the team – Che Adams.
The Blades started their pre-season against Adams’ former team and Northern Evo-Stick outfit Ilkeston Town. Adams was part of the second team after the interval and looked in great shape as his monstrous prowess caused his former employers hell on the left side. He could have had at least three goals to his name but the sharpness wasn’t quite there in front of goal. Despite that, the 19-year-old did contribute to the only goal of the game, winning a flick on for Dominic Calvert Lewin to tap in with just minutes remaining.
The Red and White Wizards then travelled south of the country and visited Cheltenham Town. Adams again stole the show, causing problems to the Cheltenham back line. The forward had many half chances and then Che got his reward after a through ball by Calvert Lewin allowed the striker to finish at the near post.
Adams again continued his fine form at Exeter City. He was looking to create openings and almost did just that for Calvert Lewin, but the versatile striker saw his header bounce over the bar. Finally, with just 10 minutes to spare, it was that man again, Adams to score the decisive goal. A wonderful ball over the top of the Grecians back line by another young starlet, Louis Reed, found the former non leaguer who calmly slotted the ball home.
But the question was, could Che perform against the bigger sides? In legend Chris Morgan’s testimonial the home side welcomed Newcastle United to Bramall Lane. Although the day itself was directed towards Morgs all eyes on the pitch were towards Adams to see whether he could continue in the same vein of form. In the early minutes he was causing havoc to the Magpies defence, having shots blocked. He also had two very decent opportunities missed before he unleashed a thunderbolt towards Tim Krul’s goal which the Dutch keeper somehow managed to flick wide of the post. Just after the break the 19-year-old ghosted by the Newcastle defence like they were dummies before Marc McNulty finished coolly.
Despite it being pre-season, Che had proved he is a player that can worry some of the biggest clubs around.
The penultimate game was a trip to Macclesfield Town, where Adams scored twice and one again was the bright spark, before a tougher match at home to Hull saw him again look bright in spells.
It’s not just the goals and assists that has put Che Adams top of the player of pre-season pile. For the youngster it’s also the level of performances in which he’s playing at. It’s almost frightening the pace and strength he possesses. His rawness comes for someone who spent around a third of last season playing seven leagues below in the Vanarama Conference. But what he can do and where he can get to is really exciting. Bets of all there’s a fearlessness about him, something the Blades have had in cup competitions but lacked in League One over the past four seasons. It’s players like Che who are going to produce that bit of magic to win a tight game and, ultimately, put the club back in the Championship.