For a long time in his career Adama Traore was just seen as an agent of chaos, an incredibly quick winger who had absolutely no end product.
Two different managers at Middlesbrough would reportedly play him on whatever wing was closest to the dugout, so that they could constantly give him instructions throughout the game. That impression continued in his early days at Wolves, but eventually he has improved and improved, to the point that he’s now a genuinely dangerous weapon for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, particularly in their game against Tottenham at the weekend.
“He was brilliant,” said Michael Cox on this week’s Totally Football Show. “There was a spell where three Spurs players got booked for hacking him down in 15 mintues, which showed how dangerous he was.
“He’s a funny one: we all said he improved when he went to wing-back, but now they’ve gone back to 3-4-3 so he’s playing further forward, so it’s almost like the confidence boost he got from getting on the ball more at wing-back has carried through to him playing more as a forward.
“His goal was really good: I think it was Jan Vertonghen backing off, and it was almost like Vertonghen didn’t think he could do that [score from where he did], because he’s not the kind of player we associate with scoring those type of goals. But he seems to be improving that side of his game. It’s great to see because he’s a really exciting player to watch.”
Anton Toloui thinks there’s only one person to give the credit to for Traore’s transformation.
“It’s Nuno. He’ll sign a player, and he’s so rigid with his tactics that he drills it into the players. When they signed Leander Dendoncker last season he barely played him for the first six months, because he didn’t deem him ready to play in his system. He’s also moved position, he’s playing at the back, because they have a shortage at the back after Wily Boly’s injury.
“That’s what Nuno does. He will not trust a player he knows he can play in not just one but two positions in his team. We’re seeing that with Traore now, seeing a player that many people never thought they would see in the Premier League.”
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