Freddy Adu then and now: The growing pains

Freddy Adu, June 2006 >>
“It’s still open, you never know,” he said. “The way Ghana is playing right now [at the World Cup finals], they’re a good, good team.”
“Because you never know, maybe I might not get a chance to play for the US national team.”
Freddy Adu, June 2008 >>
Adu said he very much enjoys starting, especially for the U.S. national team. “It really does help my confidence when the coach really believes in you to start the game off,” said Adu after a training session for the Argentina game. “It means a lot to me.”
Adu must have been channeling Steve Nowak with whom he had a testy relationship at DC United. Nowak believed Adu had a lot of growing up to do and gave Adu very few starting opportunities as a disciplinary measure. Adu in turn believes that his marginalization at DC led to his non-inclusion in the 2006 World Cup.
Playing for the MLS was never going to be enough. Adu’s RSL stint was a disappointment and it appeared to reinforce the perception that he had little motivation to stay on in the MLS. This was contrary to his attention grabbing performances in the U-20 World Cup last summer. There was a lot of grumbling that he had saved his best to attract the European heavy hitters.
Adu might be perceived wrongly or rightly so, as self serving in his career. He chose to market himself internationally which led him to Benfica and now to Monaco. However, this is not in itself a bad thing if in the long run it improves your game. And it appears to have paid off.
He looked good in the Argentina friendly. Not to put too fine a point on this but it might have had to do with sitting out in Benfica for huge parts of the season. A sign that Adu might be ready to move on to a more mature and constructive phase in his soccer playing career, motivated less by personal ambition than making the best of the starting opportunities that have come his way.

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