Adama Traore is enjoying his life under Tony Pulis and he is definitely main star in their battle for the Premier League Playoffs.
Traore started his career with Barcelona, appearing mainly for the reserves. It was Tim Sherwood who brought the player to England when he was managing at Aston Villa for £7m.
In 2015/16 season, Traore didn’t start a single game for Aston Villa. He’s only made 10 appearances from the bench and he completed 25 dribbles in 184 played minutes, meaning he completed a dribble every 7 minutes.
For sure, his first season in the Premier League with Villa hadn’t gone as planned, largely because the club was in a state of perpetual crisis and were eventually relegated.
Then, Aitor Karanka took him to the Riverside Stadium in 2016, on a four-year deal. The 22-year-old has also struggled in his first season with Middlesbrough. Aitor Karanka could not unlock a player developed in Barcelona’s academy. He had signed him, and then appeared to lose faith in him.
Middlesbrough’s relegation was confirmed in May, and Traore had only one assist in whole season.
From his first 42 games as a Middlesbrough player, Traore did not score. Then, Tony Pulis replaced Garry Monk in late December and everything has changed.
Pulis is not famed for giving freedom to his players but it has not taken him long to realise that he has something to work with in Traore. Pulis has put his trust and his motivational skills into Traore and that was not foreseen. He has been given freedom and the elevation has been remarkable. The results have been dramatic. Traore fired in five goals and five assists in a tremendous spell of form.
The turbo-charged winger is thriving under Tony Pulis. He gets better as each week passes and he is unplayable on his day. Alongside his explosive pace, the La Masia graduate is famed for his incredible dribbling skills. Completing 6.7 dribbles on average per game, his tally is almost twice as many as second placed Jeremie Boga who completes 3.6 dribbles per game.
If he adds a bit more of an end product he could be anything he wants to be.
Written by Rijad Abaza
Follow Rijad on Twitter @RijadAbaza
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