Charlie Adam – An Honest Appraisal

Charlie Adam will move on from Blackpool this summer and he will begin the new season at a new club. His time at Blackpool was a tremendous success for him and the club and he will be remembered as one of the finest players to grace the pitch at Bloomfield Road.

This article will openly and honestly assess his ability and hopefully give fans of his prospective new club an idea of the player away from limited highlights that may have been packaged up by your regular media outlets.


Charlie Adam - Blackpool's Number 26

Full name: Charles Graham Adam

Date of birth: 10th December 1985

Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)

Place of birth: Dundee, Scotland

Current club: Blackpool Football Club

Previous clubs: Rangers, Ross County (loan), St Mirren (loan)


Made to measure

To start here’s a quick look at his key statistics from the season.

Those may be the stats that give a feel for what Charlie Adam is all about, however, that is within the context of Blackpool’s team structure and the season they had and it is important to keep them in that context. What cannot be detailed here is where this places Adam in the context of his Premier League peers as that data isn’t readily available for the purposes of this article.

However, here are some observations that will add depth to the understanding of the player and what he will bring to his new club.


He is equally adept at finding both corners of the pitch with long penetrating passes either lofted or drilled low and flat, although the pass from left to right is his most natural play. He can execute them through a normal passing technique or via a higher risk volley pass which can be very potent when executed accurately. His first time passing (without looking up) can be sublime and well disguised, however, these carry a high tariff and don’t always work. If intercepted early enough then he can compromise his own team’s shape in the defensive phase. His passing over a short range is excellent and very reliable. His passing is equally excellent regardless of pitch location, edge of the box passing can be as good as passing from the deep. Near the edge of the box he will attempt a diagonal ball cut between and behind defenders getting them to turn.

He does however, need time on the ball in order to pick his pass and if a team puts him under pressure, he can be caught in possession by an astute opponent. If his awareness allows him to sense danger he will surge forward to create space to release the pass. However, his accuracy can suffer in these situations as his focus tends to be disturbed.

Below you can see how his pass completion fluctuated throughout the season from a high of 81% to a low of 45%.

Note: Where the line is thicker it means the number of successful passes was higher.


He has pace, a common misconception is that he isn’t quick. He’s certainly not a hundred metre runner, however, his pace over the first few metres is enough to take him away from most opponents especially given his upper body strength and ability to fend off tacklers (he has a take on success rate of 49%). However, this pace cannot be sustained over distance and will look to a drag of the ball or a nutmeg to beat his man rather than engage in a foot race.

Strength & Stamina

Physically he looks strongly built, if anything he may be carrying too much body fat which would improve given the right circumstances as Blackpool’s approach to fitness conditioning isn’t comparable to an established Premier League team. However, his stamina doesn’t appear to be an issue. He is strong in head to heads, tough in the tackle, a decent leap is met with a good sense of timing and a strong neck gives him above average aerial power which he utilises more in his own box rather than the attacking one, more due to his positioning and role within the Blackpool team. He doesn’t appear to be overly susceptible to injury, tends to pick up very occasional knocks as opposed to serious injuries either by overuse or accident.

Shooting & set pieces

He is excellent at delivering set pieces. Wide free kicks are better delivered from wide on the right hand side and generally hits them just above head height swinging inwards. His free kick delivery from wide left have a tendency to be hit low towards feet and behind the defensive line, swinging away from goal. He generally takes the majority of his corners from the right side, in-swinging, although has a tendency to over hit the ball. His striking of the corner can be inconsistent with a scuffed low and running corner being the key fault. His goal against West Ham was scored in this fashion, but it wasn’t deliberate as his celebration would confirm.

His direct free kicks are especially dangerous, he is able to force a powerful strike hard and low or hard and at wall height or float and curl in to the corners. He is at his most dangerous when the kick is right of centre with the strike curling to the top right corner. His penalties used to show a tendency to be struck low to the right corner, however, recently his penalties have shown his variation, with occasional strikes to the left making him hard to read. His placement shows reliability and will often strike them with power to evade the ‘keepers dive.


He is a team player and selfless with it, he has filled in when the team are short of cover and has played centre forward, centre back and left back in games albeit for short periods. He leads his team by example, interacts with the crowd as well as appearing to be very vocal towards his team mates. He appears equally spirited between his own team and the opposition and plays hard, but fair. He appears to take time to recover from mistakes and possibly has highly critical self talk that might impinge on him delivering over a course of a match when a mistake has occurred. For example, an early misplaced pass or the own goal at home to Blackburn or being caught in possession prior to Birmingham’s second goal at St Andrews.

His disciplinary record is marked by his persistent collecting of yellow cards (11 this season), however, it is rare that he loses his temper, even though he was sent off on his Blackpool for a stamp on an opponent. He does appear to have moments of passion where his focus is lost and can lead him in to the occasional rash challenge.

Technical ability

He has good close control, the ball rarely escapes him. He is strong at taking the ball down with the chest and will shield the ball well. He is however, very left footed, passing and shooting accuracy suffer when he uses his right foot. An opponent who can make him turn on to his right side will enjoy an advantage.

Positional play

Within Blackpool’s 4-2-3-1 formation, he forms a part of the deeper two midfielders, but is more progressive than his partner and acts as a link from holding midfielder to the man at the tip of the midfield triangle. When Blackpool play their flatter 4-3-3 he will normally gravitate towards the centre left of the midfield three.

He can set up plays from the middle and left of the pitch (1 & 2), but is given license to support the attack in the final third (4) and can easily play in that more advanced role. He tracks back well to close out space in the defence and will support his left back when under attack, covering runs in behind. He can hold the deeper position (3), although it tends to be against his natural attacking instinct. He made some of his early appearances for Rangers wide left (5), although his lack of pace means he wouldn’t necessarily penetrate the opposition back line, but his delivery from out wide could be utilised more often as well as his link up passing to bring others in to the game.

As revealed in the programme notes for the game at home against Manchester United it is interesting to note that he believes his best position to be at centre half (6) and this hints at the possibility of him covering as a sweeper in some schemes. He is adept at dropping deep between the centre backs when then spread to cover full back raiding forward. From this position he will comfortably hit long diagonal passes (left to right is the most common) or revert to short passes.

Should he be employed in a 4-4-2 then he can be exposed against the opposition central midfield pair, should they work hard to pressurise him and to cut off the link from his midfield partner. It would be unwise to utilise him in this formation given his propensity for needing more time on the ball. A midfield three gives him support and passing options as well as cover for when he breaks forward.

Awareness and vision

He has an excellent understanding of the pitch in front of him and where the space is in front of him in which to pass the ball. He can often see the plays that his Blackpool team mates cannot which can lead to misplaced passes. Should he be surrounded with players of a greater understanding, anticipation and pace his passes may link up more often. However, his vision tends to be limited and doesn’t possess a good awareness of a full 360 degrees which often means he is unaware of what is going on behind him, which not only reduces his passing options, but leaves him susceptible to a timely intervention by an opponent from behind.


Adam is a good central midfielder, with excellent passing range, good technical ability but at times tries to repeat the extravagant pass a little too often. He has great value to his set piece delivery and is tough and good spirited. Physically strong, but requires a better base fitness which might improve his speed and stamina. His vision needs improvement as do his reactions to working in tighter spaces. What is possible is that his drive, desire, ambition and determination to learn and develop suggests that he will improve given the right conditions.

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42 thoughts on “Charlie Adam – An Honest Appraisal”

  1. Excellent read. He’s a curious player. My feeling is that he has to be the centrepiece of a team to be fully effective, but he’s not good enough to warrant that kind of indulgence at a top club. And if he’s not the main man, he won’t be able to get away with his poor mobility (he does have a burst of pace but seems to struggle in general). As you say though, he might benefit from being at an established team. Will certainly be interesting to see how he progresses.

  2. Excellent and thorough piece. Thank you for taking the time to break down Charlie Adam’s strengths and weaknesses. He looked a very good player last season in a pretty poor team, so it will be interesting to see what he is capable of with better fitness and more talent around him at LFC (possibly).

      1. Ha, touché! But let’s be honest, while they played some exciting attacking football and won some big games, they were still relegated. That to me would constitute a pretty poor team in the end.

  3. This is a superb analysis

    I for one am absolutely fascinated by the player’s assessment that is best position is centre back (or more likely libero?)

    Did Holloway ever play him there either this season or last? If so, how did he do?

    1. I too am intrigued about the centre back option and couldn’t believe it when I read it. I must try to see if someone can put a copy of it on twitter.

      Holloway never played him in that role, however, he drops there quite naturally at times. Libero, who knows? Liverpool did experiment with a 3-5-2 last season and three at the back may well have another moment in the limelight over the next few years.

  4. Thank you for your time and effort 😀 The Tangerine army will be truly missed in epl. Best of luck to one of the best fans in english football. I’d love to see Adam in liverpool. Steven Gerrard gets injured far too often now, we need the likes of Adam.

  5. This is what scout reports on Football Manager should be like. Seriously though, a great read, and I would be genuinely interested to see your insights into other players. I’m assuming that you don’t watch other teams as much as Blackpool however…

  6. Really enjoyed this, thanks very much. Good to read other fans analysis of their own players rather than from a press angle.

  7. Great piece of work done there to describe a talismanic midfielder in Charlie Adam. I think you’re right about everything but maybe wrong about his way of not being able to know what’s going on behind him, I seen him play a wonderful pass to Blackpool’s Right Back at Anfield back early in the season, and with me as a Liverpool fan, I’d love to have him at the club ad Glen Johnson loves to get forward, and with his 360 turn and pass skill, he would be a great asset to the squad as you’ve already said he can hold up play with his upper strength, and pass a 70 – 80 yard pass.

  8. excellent article so many good stats, charlie leaves pool with his head held high, he was good for pool and pool resurrected charlie, this article will put a few more million on his price, well done.

  9. Thanks for that. As a Liverpool fan I get irritated when I see non Liverpool fans describing our players as they dont watch them every week, so dont really know how good or bad the players are. So its really good to get an unbiased opinion from someone who will know much more intimately what Adam is like than any of us Scousers would know.
    Still not sure why King Kenny wants him tho’!

    Good luck to you guys next year…Hope you come straight back up…Your fans and that nutter of a manager will be missed!!!

  10. Great site you have here. Really informative article. I’m a LFC fan. The media are making it out that he is close to coming to LFC. However In my eyes it’s not done until it done. It’s disrespectful to do that. I just want to say I enjoyed watching Blackpool during the season. Credit goes to the whole team for playing some of the best football we seen that season. Adam was out of this world at times. If anyone from the top four scored that goal that Adam scored at Blackburn we would never hear the end of it. IF he does come to LFC i’m looking forward to the dead ball opportunities. His corners and free kicks combined with Andy Carroll could be devastating on top of that he can score from them also. Hopefully he can get them full pitch passes going on again. However credit goes to the whole team and the manager for working on them things. You will be back up in no time with or without Adam. 🙂

    1. A good review of the player. I like Charlie Adam as a player. British or Irish players with a nice silky technical touch are all too rare these days and Adam certainly uses the ball with style.

      However I don’t believe he has the steely determination within himself to be a top class player at a huge club like Liverpool. He doesn’t strike me as a player who absolutely believes that his ability is good enough for Liverpool or Utd or Arsenal.

      And without that steely determination to prove he’s a top class player at a huge club, he will only be a squad player at Anfield .

  11. Kenny must see something in him to want to bring him to LFC, and regardless of whether he comes in to be a squad player or ends up playing a more pivotal role – he’s a step up from Poulsen – plus, he’d be a great asset to have as a centre back AND midfielder 🙂

  12. Really good analysis, well-chosen data and examples – and an excellent read! Congratulations on a job really well done…

    I’ve not been sure about Adams – while recognising some of his skill, I’ve probably over-focussed on his perceived limitations. After reading your appraisal, I must admit that perhaps I’ve been too critical. Looking forward to seeing him this season – at Liverpool as seems likely.

    Good look to Blackpool. I’m confident that your quality will now be too good for the Championship – see you back next season!!

  13. im a rangers

    hes a good player but if he goes to liverpool a think he will become a bit part player and that wont sute him at all. a think hes the type who need to play week in week out and to be one of the main men. at rangers he was in and out of the team and the games he played where a bit hit and miss but we all knew there was a player in there somewhere. thats what made him a frustrating player to have in the team. always in the rangers fmaily good luck charlie hope whatever move you make is the right one.

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