Scotland manager Steve Clarke was criticised for not starting Che Adams in the country’s Euro 2020 opening-game loss to the Czech Republic in June. Now the Southampton forward has revealed for the first time that the decision was taken after the player was required to attend hospital following an ECG scan prior to the game.
An irregularity in the test that monitors heart rate would have been cause for the Scotland medical team to further investigate at any time. However, Adams’ result came as the global community continued to process the collective trauma the followed from Denmark’s Christian Eriksen suffering a heart attack during an encounter with Iceland that unfolded live on television.
Yet, even against such a backdrop, while it meant Adams appreciated the caution surrounding his deployment on the afternoon – he was introduced at the interval with Scotland one-down in an encounter they lost 2-0 – the 25-year-old was not fearful over the need for further checks after all players were given ECGs as a precaution following what so nearly proved a fatal health emergency for Eriksen.
“No I wasn’t,” he said. “I think they just needed more data to prove [I was OK]. Obviously with what happened with Eriksen everyone had to do a ECG heart scan. That was all that was, I think they just needed more information and data to back it up. So all good.”
Yet Adams had not personally found himself in the position of something showing up in a heart scan. “Not [with] me, no, just other people,” he said when asked if he had been aware of such an issue across his career. “I think it is just a standard thing. Everyone has to do it and everyone is going to go through it over the next couple of years. I am alright. I have had scans like that before and nothing has come up. I think it was probably more a case of these guys were more worried about it than me because I knew what happened and what I had done [with previous tests]. So they just needed more information and back up data to be alright.”
Although Adams gives the impression of being entirely unperturbed by the unexpected trip to hospital ahead of Scotland’s first appearance in a major finals for 23 years, he believes it did prove a concern to Clarke and that the composition of his starting line-up reflected a desire to offer the forward a degree of protection. “I think so, yeah. He probably was [concerned],” Adams said. “It was a standard thing at the time, nothing serious but he wanted to protect me and I think it was the right decision. It is just one of those things you just have to get over. We lost the game but it was a good performance.”
Adams isn’t a player to exaggerate hurdles in his career when he has overcome formidable ones to become an international and English Premier League striker. He will be reminded of the unglamourous surrounds in which he took his first steps in senior football as a non-league performer across his teens when he is returned to such surrounds courtesy of the trip to the Faroe Islands’ tiny stadium in Torshavn on Tuesday.
“It humbles you down,” he said. “You are so used to playing in these big stadiums now but you never forget where you come from. That's the main thing for me and I am just relishing everything and taking it all in and carrying on and taking it in my stride.”