It’s more than a month now since Adryan last started a game for Leeds United. I hear his name mentioned a lot. Of all the fringe players at the club he’s the one that the fans seems most keen to see more of.
We had big expectations of him when he joined in the summer. Part of that was down to the fact that the laddie obviously has bags of talent but part of it was unrealistic; the simple assumption that because he was Brazilian, because he was a flair player, he’d come to England and give the Championship the runaround.
Very few players give the Championship the runaround and when you look at Adryan rationally, you see things differently.
He’s 20, he’s at a very early stage of his career, he’s miles from home and he’s playing in a league like no other he’s ever played in.
With hindsight this was bound to be a hard season for him.
I’m pretty sure that in years to come he’s going to be a very effective asset for someone. With any luck, that club will be Leeds. But I don’t think it’s difficult to see why he’s struggling to get a game at the moment.
The circumstances and our position in the league don’t do many favours to a footballer like Adryan.
From what I’ve seen of him, he’s someone who’s best in what they call a free role. He’s at his most dangerous when he’s left to roam, to pop up here and there and basically do his own thing.
In the right division and in the right team with the right form, a player like that can do damage but a Championship relegation battle isn’t the place where Adryan is going to thrive.
We’ve been fighting the drop for a long time now and what you need in this situation is a team of players who give you six-out-of-10 or seven-out-of-10 performances week in, week out.
This is where you have to win games, even if that means winning ugly.
At the turn of the year Neil Redfearn decided to switch things around and go with five in midfield.
It’s worked well for us (and quite why he changed to two up front against Brentford last Saturday I really don’t know, but that’s a different topic of discussion).
The current formation is good because it allows you to attack and get at teams out wide while limiting the space you give away at the back. You’ve got three attackers behind the striker but you’ve also got two holding midfielders who protect the defence and, in theory, keep the opposition at arm’s length.
It’s a system where everyone has a set position and everyone needs to perform with discipline. Part of the reason why Lewis Cook has been so good this season and more involved than Adryan is probably because of the discipline in his game. I’m not saying Adryan doesn’t have any or that he doesn’t know how to battle but I think that side of the game comes more naturally to Cook, and to someone like Alex Mowatt.
As strange as it sounds, I actually believe Adryan would fair better in the Premier League.
You get far more time on the ball at that level and there are a lot of players with his attributes and his build. That’s not to say he’d cut it in the Premier League – in truth it’s quite hard to judge him without seeing more of him – but it doesn’t surprise me that his chances have been limited in the Championship.
If I was managing Leeds I’d probably be limiting his chances too.
What he needs is another year in this division. A full English pre-season would probably help him too. If we can fight our way clear of relegation before the final weeks of the season, Neil will have a few free games – dead rubbers – where he can experiment and test a few of the fringe lads like Adryan. We’d all like to see that.
Adryan might be Brazilian but he needs to travel the same learning curve as everyone else and he needs the same amount of patience as everyone else.
I almost think that to bring him here at the end of August, launch him into the Championship and expect him to thrive straight away was pretty unfair.
He might have a part to play still this season and I wouldn’t object at all to him being on the bench.
But I’d still argue that he’s one for the future.