Philadelphia Union v Seattle Sounders

Adding to the Freddy Adu discussion as his time at Philadelphia looks finished


There is something important thing to remember in the ongoing Freddy Adu debate, something that gets left out of these conversations too frequently.

(Sudden thought: man, how many years now have we been able to have a rip-snortin’ Freddy Adu debate?)

Plenty of fans and some members of the media want to see more of Adu around PPL Park. Domestic soccer’s former wunderkind started 20 times and played 24 of 34 matches overall.

So some supporters just are not certain Adu got a fair shake, that the 23-year-old attacker had enough time to grind that groove, enough opportunity to perk up a Philadelphia Union attack that was generally every bit as dynamic as a bowl of broccoli.

And fair enough. But … here’s the thing:

Fans and media tend to think in terms of what a player can do, what elements they add to the collective, what good and productive deeds to spring from the man’s golden boots on game day.

Coaches tend to think in terms of what players can not do,  what elements are missing, what they are not doing, what bad habits and deficiencies are derailing the club in daily practices and on game day.

And it’s hard to blame them; mistakes lead to losses and losses cost jobs. (Is it an overly cautious, negative approach? Maybe … but that’s a longer debate.)

So if a player does not track, if he hands off defensive responsibilities too often to teammates, if he doesn’t make the selfless runs or offer support in the right place on the attack, it all becomes damaging to the bottom line.

But then a player throws highlight-maker of a head fake, swivels the hips just so, opens up a defense with a killer pass and makes a big moment once or twice a contest, and the great unwashed throw up their hands and say, “See there! The coach is bat-stuff crazy if he doesn’t play this guy more!”

Any-who, think about all that as you listen to Philadelphia manager John Hackworth and his latest comments on Adu, whose future around PPL Park looks tenuous at very best.

The reality is he has to focus, to change some things in order for him to reach that full potential.”

And …

We don’t want any part of a player that doesn’t understand all those demands. He does and now we are trying to in our exit interviews have very clear communication of what will make sense for us and what will make sense for Freddy.”

That does not sound good for his future under Hackworth, who goes way back with the young attacker and has always seemed to be fond of Adu personally.

But this isn’t personal. It’s business. To  wit: Adu makes north of $500,000. That’s darn good money in MLS. In fact, it’s DP money. And DPs who don’t make the 18-man list do not last very long.

VIDEO: Previewing all 10 Premier League games

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28:  Jose Fonte of Southampton and Sergio Aguero of Manchester City compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
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A busy midweek for Premier League teams in Europe sees some high-profile match-ups when league play resumes this weekend.

Chelsea is hosting former manager Jose Mourinho, Arsenal looks to keep up its red-hot play, and Manchester City is hoping an extra day’s rest on Southampton makes a difference to its recent dry spell.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on  NBC Sports 

Below you will find video previews of all 10 games coming up this weekend in the PL.

Manchester City vs. Southampton — Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

Burnley vs. Everton — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion — Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

Swansea City vs. Watford — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur — Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

Hull City vs. Stoke City — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

Chelsea vs. Manchester United — Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

West Ham United vs. Sunderland — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, watch online via NBC Sports

PST EXTRA: Will Mourinho go ultra defensive vs Chelsea? (video)

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After Thursday’s thumping of Fenerbahce, Manchester United’s focus turns to Chelsea.

You can bet Jose Mourinho has been daydreaming of this day from the moment he started jockeying for a new Premier League job; leading a team onto the Stamford Bridge pitch to face his former club.

[ MORE: Mourinho says Pogba needs time ]

Two years ago, Mourinho was leading Chelsea to the Premier League title. He didn’t last the next season, as a run of shocking results motivated Chelsea to cut ties with its “Special One”.

Joe Prince-Wright is here with another PST Extra, breaking down Sunday’s big match between Mourinho’s Red Devils and Antonio Conte‘s Blues at 11 a.m. ET.

Manchester United: Pogba explains why he took PK over Rooney

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between Manchester United FC and Fenerbahce SK at Old Trafford on October 20, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba scored a pair of goals in Thursday’s big Europa League win over Fenerbahce, but the first was up for discussion.

Wayne Rooney started the game and has handled plenty of penalty kicks in his day, but the captain bowed to Pogba’s request to break the deadlock.

[ WATCH: Pogba’s fantastic goal ]

Pogba would later score a much better looking goal, but many debated the PK duties for much of the game (ad nauseam). Anthony Martial converted United’s second penalty of the night in a 4-1 win, but it was Pogba’s that was at the center of discussion.

From the BBC:

“I told Wayne (Rooney) I wanted to take the penalty and he let me. I am very happy to score that penalty and from a player like him to let me it is big respect so I am very glad.

“I feel comfortable with all of the team. It is just at the start of the season and there is still a long way to go and we want to go up and do our best and be top of the league.”

Pogba certainly knows the right way to turn a phrase, proffering plenty of praise for Rooney. Pogba had a very good game aside from a few early misplaced passes, and this performance could put his form in a fine place for Sunday’s match against Chelsea.

Mourinho says Pogba needs time to adjust to Premier League intensity

Manchester United's Paul Pogba, centre, celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the Europa League Group A soccer match between Manchester United and Fenerbahce at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
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Paul Pogba had a very good match for Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday, but manager Jose Mourinho still wants supporters to pump the brakes as the French midfielder continues adjusting to life in the Premier League.

Pogba, 23, has been under the microscope since returning to Old Trafford after a tremendous stint with Juventus. That scrutiny tends to come with a world record transfer fee.

[ MORE: UEFA Europa League roundup ]

On Thursday, he scored a pair of goals in United’s 4-1 defeat of Fenerbahce, a win that boosted the Red Devils back atop their Europa League group.

Mourinho was obviously asked about his midfielder’s starring performance.

“Paul Pogba needs time. I was in Italy, I know Italian football. To be in Italy for four or five years and come back I was not expecting it to be a click of the fingers for intensity. He needs time.”