Sheffield Utd 2 Chesterfield 0: Raw talent Adams helps Blades fans quickly forget Murphy exit

strike one: Sheffield Uniteds Che Adams fires home the first of his two goals against Chesterfield in the League one encounter at Bramall Lane. Pictures: Martyn Harrisonstrike one: Sheffield Uniteds Che Adams fires home the first of his two goals against Chesterfield in the League one encounter at Bramall Lane. Pictures: Martyn Harrison
strike one: Sheffield Uniteds Che Adams fires home the first of his two goals against Chesterfield in the League one encounter at Bramall Lane. Pictures: Martyn Harrison
Twelve months ago, Che Adams was playing part-time football with non-league Ilkeston Town in Derbyshire.

A barometer of the rapid progress the 19-year-old has made at Sheffield United came when the Blades sold their star winger Jamie Murphy last Friday to Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion for £1.5m.

Blades fans could have been forgiven for thinking that another of the club’s crown jewels was being flogged as they continue to try and balance the books of operating in League One.

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But such is the confidence in teenager Adams – who netted twice against Tottenham Hotspur last season, before also scoring in the play-off semi-final against Swindon Town – that Murphy’s exit hardly caused a ripple.

If there had been any second thoughts in the 23,031 crowd which turned out for Nigel Adkins’s first competitive game in charge at Bramall Lane, they were quickly expelled.

For Adams smashed home the first goal after just three minutes, to start Tweets circulating along the lines of “Jamie who…?”

The Leicester-born forward, who operated wide on the flank, was in the right place to profit after Conor Sammon – the loan striker making his home debut –forced Spireites goalkeeper Tommy Lee into a fine block.

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Adams needed no second invitation as he diverted the ball into the back of the net. After a humbling 4-0 defeat at Gillingham on the opening day, it was just the start Adkins had demanded.

If it was a quick start to the first half, fans had barely returned to their seats after half-time, when Adams pounced again. This time he played a one-two with Sammon before racing through and beating Lee with ease in front of the Kop.

“I was happy to get the goals, but more importantly to get the win,” said Adams.

“That’s the way the game panned out (early goals). Luckily the first goal just fell to me, the second goal was well made.

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“That’s what we have been practicing on the training ground, and I was happy to get it in.

“Getting into the team last season, it was all about getting fit and stronger. This time, I think I can push on. Playing week-in, week-out will help my experience, being a second-year professional it’s just about getting used to it.

“The most important thing is just to go out and enjoy it.

“Under this gaffer, he wants me to be positive all the time and get at them (the opposition).

“That’s my game, and if he wants me to do it, I am quite happy to go along with that.”

Can he take advantage of Murphy being sold?

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“Hopefully some more performances like today will help,” said Adams, who will benefit playing alongside experienced professionals like Sammon and Billy Sharp.

With Marc McNulty and Michael Higdon also pushing for starting roles up front, Adams knows Adkins has options

“That’s why I am happy to start,” he said. “Going up against the likes of Marc McNulty, who has not been able to come on, I have been happy to play.

“It’s good to bounce balls off Conor. He’s a strong guy up there, and he can drop the ball back to you. I can learn a lot from both Conor and Billy (Sharp). I can learn a lot from Billy’s finishing.

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“All the strikers bring different options and that’s good for the gaffer, which helps the team out. We have a good understanding with each other, even if we do different things.”

Saturday’s game was free-flowing, Sammon had a ‘goal’ disallowed for a foul on goalkeeper Lee, who also thwarted Sharp.

The closest Chesterfield came saw Daniel Jones strike the woodwork and Mark Howard react quickly when seeing a free-kick late as it came through a mass of bodies.

The visitors dominated possession, had a 14-2 corner count in their favour, but lacked a cutting edge in front of goal.

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Adkins revealed he did not want Murphy, who netted 21 goals in 122 appearances, to leave.

The 25-year-old told United he wanted a move to the Championship to enhance his international chances with Scotland and Adkins said: “I didn’t want him to go, but he has gone and we move on, we look forward. Che has scored two goals today, that is football.

“I made it perfectly clear that I didn’t want Namie to go, but he has.

“Jamie was well aware that I didn’t want him to go, that’s all I can say on the matter.”

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Asked whether the Murphy fee will be reinvested in strengthening the Blades squad, Adkins responded: “We will do all our business to the best we can to keep moving forward as a football club, which has to keep its house in order.

“The business of football is such that we have one objective, and that’s to get promoted this season.”

Sheffield United: Howard, Freeman, Collins, Edgar, McEveley, Scougall (Reed 69), Basham, Baxter (J Wallace 59), Adams (Woolford 67), Sharp, Sammon. Unused substitutes: Long, McNulty, Campbell-Ryce, K Wallace.

Chesterfield: Lee, Talbot (Raglan 82), Hird, Evatt, Jones, O’Shea, Morsy, Gardner (Gnanduillet 82), Banks (Ariyibi 70), Ebanks-Blake, Novak. Unused substitutes: Humphreys, Onovwigun, Orrell, Cairns.

Referee: K Wright (Cambs).