Thursday, 28 August 2014

Can Adam Smith compete with Francis long term for a starting place?

I was really pleased with how well Adam Smith took his chance against Nottingham Forest when Simon Francis pulled up in the week with a thigh strain. It is not how Adam would have wanted to earn a starting place in the team but now that he is there he showed the attacking intent that is sure to have caught Eddie Howe's eye. There was more than a couple of occasions when he broke down the right with lightening speed and good control in the Forest match, linking with Matt Ritchie and Yann Kermorgant and getting right to the byline or into the box with shooting chances. 
Smith looks capable of starting more games this season.
At times it looked like Bournemouth had a new signing as we have not seen a great deal of Adam even if he has been playing some of the pre-season games. His shooting is something that he may find earns him more of a chance of playing more regularly if he can start hitting more of those shots into the back of the net. His conversion rate though is not as high as it might be which is one of the edges Francis probably has over him. Another is that Francis has become better at his defensive positioning and is not so often stretched when running back these days. The crosses that Fancis provides are another quality that have made him the favoured number 2. 

So Adam has his work cut out on retaining his place when Francis is fit again, but the versatility of Smith is another factor that I believe is a strong point for him and as the season progresses we may see Adam even play a bit higher up the pitch. I always feel though that if you are playing in the wing back position, while you can get forwards at times you have to be an even better defender as a team needs its wing backs to recover quickly to retain the defensive shape of the back four. If you are a yard or two behind, it is common for a Championship team to punish you. But playing games will help Smith fit in more and I believe he deserves this time as he has many assets which will be beneficial for the Cherries.      

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