Tyler Adams was just getting back into the fold at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig before the current season was postponed. Now the American midfielder is using this extended break to recover fully for whenever the season resumes abroad.
Adams is in his second season with the German club, but injuries have hampered his current campaign causing him to watch from the sidelines. Julian Nagelsmann side’s advanced to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League and remain in the Bundesliga title race alongside Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
With Adams now waiting to see when the season will resume, he’s hoping to be rearing to go to play a key role in the final stage.
“For me, being injured in the beginning of the season and not really being able to participate in preseason, I’m almost having a preseason right now,” Adams said in a Bundesliga conference call on Friday. “For me, this is varied to other players where I’m building up to my full capability now, and getting that full length of fitness, the four weeks of what everyone else had at the beginning of the season, and then a run of games, I’m getting it now.”
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” Adams said. “One day we’re playing our Champions League game against Tottenham, and we don’t really understand the circumstances that are at hand yet because you’re walking out to the anthem, and then the next day, all of a sudden, our games are cancelled for the weekend.”
Adams had dealt with both groin and adductor injuries this season which also kept him out of last summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup for the U.S. Men’s National Team. The 21-year-old made an immediate impact for RB Leipzig after moving from New York Red Bulls in January 2019, earning a starting spot under then-manager Ralf Rangnick.
With Nagelsmann now at the helm, Adams has yet to truly show his potential to the young German manager due to those injuries. He impressed in a short cameo against Tottenham in the Round of 16 second leg win in London, but it was only his third appearance total this season. Now he is just getting back into training as RB Leipzig and other Bundesliga teams are finally opening the doors at their training grounds despite the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic.
“Right now the body feels great, I feel fully recovered any past injuries I’ve had,” Adams said. “My mental state is clear and I’m focused on being able to play again. This throws a curveball in it again but my season has not been a normal one to say the least. I think that this has definitely been a development process for me, and this is going to help me.”
“It’s a little bit tricky, right, because you can only do certain passing drills, you can do dribbling, you can do running and fitness and finishing,” Adams said. “So you have all the individual variables of what it’s like to play in the game, but at the same time it’s never going to be an 11v11 right now, and that’s the thing that hurts as a player.”
“You want to go out and you want to train with your teammates, you want to have the duals that you have and find ways to get better. It’s a little bit tricky at the moment, but it’s just a good feeling to have the ball at your feet, have teammates that you’re able to see, because when you’re stuck at home and you’re not really able to socialize with anyone at least you can have a couple of teammates here to get out of the house.”
Adams has unquestionable talent at such a young age, but his fitness has been an issue forcing other players at Leipzig to step up in 2019-20. Now with him ready to go, it should give Nagelsmann another weapon for whenever the season resumes and two trophies still to play for.
His absence for the USMNT has also forced Gregg Berhalter’s hand, giving other players a chance to shine in the Concacaf Gold Cup and Nations League respectively. With the scheduled semifinals of the Nations League also postponed for this summer, Adams’ may need to wait until the Fall for his next opportunity to represent his country.
“We don’t know if we’re going to have a summer break. We don’t know if there’s going to be an offseason,” Adams said. “We just know there are eight games left, we have Champions League, and we don’t know exactly how it’s going to play out.”