‘I don’t’ – Wolves star Adama Traore fires Aston Villa message ahead of reunion
Adama Traore was doomed from the very start at Aston Villa.
A 19-year-old boy with limited English was plucked from Barcelona – the only club he’d ever known – and expected to hit the ground running alongside 10 other new signings.
He didn’t and a perception of Traore was created which the winger has been unable to shake. Until now.
That decisive cross for Raul Jimenez’s winner against Slovan Bratislava on Thursday was Traore’s ninth direct goal contribution (two goals, seven assists) of what’s been an electric season so far.
Villa fans aren’t familiar with this souped-up version of Traore. Many of the 3,000 Villans at Molineux on Sunday will remember a novice with raw speed and power that he couldn’t control.
But Traore, now a man and captivating a room full of journalists, isn’t fussed about proving them wrong.
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“I don’t think I have to prove anything to anyone,” says the 23-year-old. “I’m not thinking about anything outside of our team or what other people think.
“I have to prove it to the manager, Nuno, who has trusted me, and the team and myself.”
Traore arrived at Villa Park in 2015 and never made a Premier League start for the club. He was overlooked by Tim Sherwood, Remi Garde and Eric Black – all of whom are now out of work – as Villa were relegated from the Premier League with a whimper.
A comment Sherwood made shortly after Traore joined made the youngster’s mission nigh-on impossible. “He’s a bit of Messi and Ronaldo,” he said.
The bar was instantly elevated to a level any 19-year-old with limited first team experience would find unachievable.
Asked about that comparison, Traore said: “These two players are special in history and I’m here working each day. They are in the best level – I prefer to make my way.
“There’s always expectations when you come from Barcelona. Too much expectation depends on the limitations people put on you. If you think, ‘Adama maybe has high expectations on him’, it’s because maybe you think I can get where I think I can get.
“This is the thing. Maybe people think I can get to one level, and I think I can get to another level.
“The only truth is what I know, the work I’m doing, how I focus on the pitch and how I give my life. If I’m the same guy as yesterday, for me it’s one day lost. I work every day trying to be the best I can be.”