Former Dagenham & Redbridge team-mate Mark Arber and Thurrock chairman Tommy South remember how the British sprinter was clearly better at running than passing
Mark Arber, former Dagenham & Redbridge defender
With all due respect sometimes Adam was just too quick for the ball – he'd run past and he'd have to wait for it. So you could see he had exhilarating pace just on the football pitch.
He played full-back and that was probably the best decision by the manager because that gave him the whole length of the pitch to run – it was perfect.
He's just such an athlete on a football pitch and the athleticism sometimes overshadowed the technical side of his game. Sometimes players are too quick for their own good and have just one pace and its 100 miles per hour, and it's probably not his fault.
I was aware that he was doing the athletics as well but it was a little bit of a secret – some of the youth-team lads coming up would say: "Have you seen this boy run?" So it was spoken about on a low level and all of a sudden it's come to fruition.
He was at Dagenham & Redbridge for a couple of years [from 2009] and he also had a loan spell: he was training with us and went into non-league at Thurrock last season. I think he featured a couple of times in pre-season games for us and for the reserve team as well but on the training ground it was evident that he was in the wrong career and that's been proven.
Good luck to him. He made the decision and I know he had a little bit of an injury last year because when I had surgery he was in the gym – he had a problem with his knee and was out for around six weeks. So he was putting himself on the line as the football could have stopped his athletics.
He's not only done what he's done, but he's done so while juggling two sports. So in that respect you can only look at it and think that he can improve. He's obviously at a young age, 18, and he had to choose and it looks like he's done that with athletics and it's such a fantastic achievement. For someone to do what he has – Adam won't have been 100% focused on the athletics side because he was obviously still playing his football – so to have become the world junior champion and be selected for the Olympics at such a young age is amazing.
Tommy South, Thurrock chairman
You would want Adam as your son-in-law. He's a really lovely boy. There's nothing flash about him, he's down to earth, humble – a very nice person, and his mum and dad are lovely people too.
He was a Dagenham & Redbridge player and he couldn't get in their team at all so we approached him because we'd seen him in a couple of reserve games and he came on loan for about four months [last season].
Adam won't mind me saying that he wasn't a fantastic footballer but he would put the ball past you and keep running. The classic one was when someone in the crowd said: "You'd better shut the gate otherwise he'll end up on the M25." He was so quick it was unbelievable, the only way they could stop him was by kicking him.
Of course a big danger to him and his sprinting career would be an injury which can happen at any time in football but thankfully that never happened despite other teams trying to get at him – they just couldn't get anywhere near him. He was so quick he could play any position but no disrespect to Adam I don't think he had a football brain. I think in the back of his mind he always wanted to be a runner. But you never know he might be able to return and play football – he's only 18, only a baby.
To be honest, no, I wasn't aware of his speed and his athletic ability when he first came to us. He had this film on his phone that he was showing people from when he was younger to show how fast he could run but we didn't really take it too seriously.
Then he left us in January and said he was going to concentrate on the running and now he's built himself up so strong and for the better – the top half of his body is so powerful now. He looks unbelievable, though he's still our Adam.
We're all rooting for him, all of Thurrock, and I imagine all the people at Dagenham & Redbridge. You just wouldn't think he was going to be at the Olympics because he is not a pushy person. Since he left we have been texting and [swapping] emails so of course I wish him all the best. He deserves everything he gets that boy because he works so hard: even at our club where we train every Tuesday and Thursday he was always there, despite the sprinting. Read More
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