He has only recently turned 33, younger than Steven Davis he is quick to note. So why shouldn’t Charlie Adam set his sights as high as possible as he contemplates the next chapter in his career?
Davis and Adam were team-mates at Rangers before they both set off for adventures south of the Border. The former is set to return to Ibrox after falling out of favour at Southampton. Adam has found himself in a similar position at Stoke City and is now contemplating his options.
Davis’ situation mirrors his own. As with Adam, the Northern Irish midfielder can probably allow his heart to rule his head after several lucrative years in English football.
Adam can’t disguise some envy as he addresses the news Davis looks to be on the way back to Govan. But he also views the move as a shrewd one on the part of Steven Gerrard, pictured. “It absolutely makes sense to me,” said Adam. “He’s still a top player. He knows the club and has the experience.
“That’s something you are always looking for and he can play in that No 10 position, linking the play between [Alfredo] Morelos and the midfield. You need to get him on the ball to be effective but for Rangers it’s a sensible deal.”
He added: “It’s a good piece of business if they get it done. It’s not about the money [anymore]. He’s obviously been told about the project at Rangers. He’ll also have seen from the outside and he wants to be part of it. They are within touching distance of being successful and he’ll feel his quality can add to that and help take them to the next step.
“He’s obviously had a chat with the manager and club and has been happy with that. Rangers is a big pull for any player. To get someone like that back would be a great piece of business and hopefully he [Gerrard] can add one or two more.”
Adam would love to be one of these additional signings recruited to boost the Ibrox club’s title hopes. Despite not playing since October after being told he can leave by Stoke City, he remains confident in his own abilities. Seeing Davis emerge from exile at Southampton to set up a move to Rangers on an 18-month contract has given him encouragement.
“He [Davis] is a year older than me!” exclaimed Adam. “He’s played for Northern Ireland but he’s not played an awful lot for Southampton this last six months or under the new manager. He’ll be wanting to be out there playing and showing everybody Steven Davis is still a good player.
“I have no doubt he is. Rangers don’t have too many experienced players. There’s Allan McGregor and maybe Ryan Jack, but after those guys, the rest are a young group. To have that kind of leader going in there will be great business for the club.”
Rangers remain one obvious potential destination for Adam since it’s where he started his career. Gerrard is also a former teammate of his at Liverpool and knows what he can do. There’s also Hearts, with Craig Levein clearly a fan having picked Adam regularly for Scotland while he was national manager.
Adam is not ruling anything out. He operated in the Premier League in England as recently as last season – making 11 appearances for Stoke in their last season in the top flight – so he won’t sell himself short. But he would consider a move to the bottom end of the Scottish Premiership if it meant playing regularly again. He enjoyed a successful loan spell at St Mirren, where he won the First Division title in 2006.
Adam has also been linked on occasion with a move to Dundee, the team he supported as a boy and for whom he has made two emotional testimonial appearances in recent years. His late father, Charlie Senior, was a Dundee fan despite numbering Dundee United among his former clubs. He’s why Adam pointed to the skies when he scored for Dundee against Crystal Palace in Julian Speroni’s testimonial in May 2015.
“Scotland is an option,” stressed Adam. “At the moment I can’t say I want to go here or there because there has been no contact [from anyone]. Clubs will probably think it’s going to be too expensive but until somebody comes to the table and speaks to my agent or myself I won’t know or where we go from there. At the moment I’m just waiting and training and seeing what opportunities arise.”
He’s saddened to see the current plight of Dundee and St Mirren. Either one of them would have their hopes of remaining in the top tier enhanced by introducing Adam to their midfield.
“Going back to those two clubs, clubs that I know, it’s a shame that they are where they are,” he said. “Jim [McIntyre] looks like he’s trying to have a clear-out and get rid of players [at Dundee] and I know Gus [McPherson] is working hard with the manager to get new players in, because when you come into a new club and a lot of the players from the old regime are still there it’s difficult. When you go into a new club you want to bring your own players in. But when you’re at Dundee or St Mirren the pennies do mean a lot, so you need to try and weigh up everything. Hopefully both clubs can get out of where they are and move up the league.”
It’s not simply about ticking off a wish list, as signing for Dundee would represent before he hangs up his boots. Coming home to lead the Dens Park side to safety is the stuff of dreams. Romance is all very well. But first and foremost, Adam is a professional footballer. He needs to get those boots back on, whether it’s in Scotland, England or anywhere else.
“It’s not so much about coming home,” he said. “I want to come and play and enjoy my football again.”
“I’m 33 and I’ve not played for six months now really,” he added. “So it’s not that I’m [only] desperate to come back to Scotland. But if the opportunity arose to come back here it’s something I’m open to.
“It’s only an opportunity if someone picks up the phone and says they want to have a chat. Nobody has done that so far.”
l Charlie Adam was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup and Scottish Football.