"Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world and only the select few get the opportunity to play there," said Charlie Adam when he sat down with the Telegraph to discuss his new life with Stoke as one of three ex-Liverpool players expected in the squad come Sunday. Yet despite that he's only a month gone from what he admits is one of the biggest clubs in the world, Adam insists that switching to the West Midlands side wasn't "a major disappointment."
Instead, for Adam, the move was about accepting the reality of life under a new manager, one who hadn't brought him to the club and saw him as a squad player where before he had held a near lock on the starting eleven. While the player believes himself good enough to compete at the highest level—going so far as to imply he wouldn't be out of place on the pitch for a match between Real Madrid and Manchester City—he was also enough of a realist to see that his role would be more limited if he stayed at Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool.
"I could have sat there for the next two or three years and played here and there," he said, "played in the Europa League or come off the bench if I was lucky. For me as a person I’ve got more respect for myself than that. I could have stayed and played maybe 10 or 15 games but I want to play 30 or 40 a season.
"I went to see the manager because he had brought in Joe Allen, Lucas was coming back from injury, Stevie Gerrard is one of the greatest-ever players to play for Liverpool, and Jonjo [Shelvey] was playing as well. The manager was honest with me and said, 'I see you more as a squad player.' So I didn’t want people saying I was just sat there doing nothing."
For all the abuse Adam received for his play—for poor tackles and nonexistent tracking, a lack of movement and misplaced Hollywood balls and a tunnel vision that set in when he entered the final third—in the end at least it can be said he valued playing time over a slightly larger paycheque. It can be said that, as has been the case with many of Liverpool's recent players who have failed to deliver quite what the club needed on matchday, Adam was at least a model professional in his time at Liverpool.
"I’ll probably get more respect not from walking away but from taking the opportunity to play somewhere else."
He could also get a bit more respect by not breaking the ankles of any Liverpool player tomorrow. And perhaps by turning the ball over a time or four.