During a rough start to the season, Charlie Adam found himself cast out of Mark Hughes’s plans and playing in front of one man and his dog for Stoke’s Under 21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
On Sunday the 30-year-old Scotland midfielder, restored to the heart of the Stoke midfield hit by a raft of injuries and suspensions, produced an authoritative, match-winning performance to remind everyone of his true value.
The only thing missing from Adam’s afternoon was a goal — though he was only denied that by a technicality. It was his first-half header that struck the post and ricocheted over the line off hapless Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, to be credited as an own goal.
Watford’s fans were furious, and even Adam admitted his challenge may have been too strong. ‘I think it was a foul actually, I pushed him. But we’ll take it, it’s a great win,’ Adam said the Scot.