FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan recently caught up with RB Leipzig’s American starlet Tyler Adams, who looks set for a bright future in the Bundesliga.
Only a few minutes had passed since the final whistle of Monday’s 1-1 draw between RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.
As he walked through the Red Bull Arena tunnel and back into the dressing room, there was intensity on the face of Tyler Adams.
Highlights – RB Leipzig vs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
It was tricky to pinpoint the exact emotion he was feeling at that moment.
Perhaps exhaustion from a battling display after coming on at halftime to help RB Leipzig rescue a point courtesy of Willi Orban’s 89th-minute equaliser.
Maybe frustration considering the hosts had more than enough chances in the second half to arguably deserve the win.
It could even have been a look of reflection at another learning experience, having made his fifth appearance in one of Europe’s top leagues since joining from New York Red Bulls in the January window.
After a brief moment in the dressing room to put on a jacket, Adams was whisked back out to speak to journalists from Asia on a media visit organised by the Bundesliga.
Almost immediately, he broke into a wide grin as he greeted all present and any look of seriousness was replaced by the youthful enthusiasm one would expect from a 20-year-old in the midst of realising the dream of playing top-level football.
In those few moments, it is easy to see why many are expecting big things from the United States midfielder, with nine senior caps to his name already.
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The exuberance and hunger to learn rapidly and make the most of this opportunity is clear for all to see, by the way he spoke of his experiences so far since leaving home for Leipzig.
But, his demeanour before that, and the composed 45-minute display he showed on the field, belonged to someone who means business.
“In the end, it’s such a positive move for me because I knew that – coming here – I was going to get opportunities to play,” Adams told FOX Sports Asia.
“The team plays so many young players and, for my development, I think it’s the right environment for me.
“Obviously, game by game, I’m tactically [and] technically getting better, understanding the guys around me and getting chemistry.
“The guys around me have helped me a lot, as well as the coaching staff.”
🔥 @tyler_adams14: game changer 👊
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) February 26, 2019
Showing a nice bit of enterprise to take on an opponent before slipping a neat pass to Marcel Sabitzer, Adams instigated the move which led to Die Roten Bullen’s equaliser on Monday evening, although it was far from his only highlight.
With a sharp tackle to break up play on several occasions, as well as a casual first-time flick inside the area which almost carved out a chance for the hosts, the kid from New York showed plenty to impress not only his current boss Ralf Rangnick, but also Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann, who will take over at the Red Bull Arena next season.
“Absolutely, I’m getting more confidence day by day,” he added.
“Everything I do in training, I’m trying to get shaper so that, realistically, when I enter the pitch, I’m ready to go.
“Obviously, it’s about making good impressions but, at the same time, having fun with it.
Since RB Leipzig signed Tyler Adams this year:
With Adams in the Lineup: 404 minutes, 12 Goals For, 1 Goal Against (+2.45 GD/90)
W/o Adams in the Lineup: 136 minutes, 0 Goals For, 2 Goals Against (-1.32 GD/90)
Its a small sample, but a 3.77 GD/90 swing with Adams in is crazy.
— Tutul Rahman (@tutulismyname) February 26, 2019
“The guys around me love to play a bit of soccer at times and, other times, we have to work hard to get everything that we learn.
“For me, it’s just about having fun and that’s what I’m doing.”
Nonetheless, while Adams has certainly taken no time to adapt to life in Europe, his slip of the tongue suggested there was still one final bit that still needed getting use to.
“Hang on a minute, Tyler,” this reporter asked. “Now that you’re here… do you still call it soccer or football?”
And, with a wry, slightly-sheepish grin – and almost a good-natured roll of the eyes – the bright young talent with maturity beyond his years replied: “… football”.