EXCLUSIVE: Jordan Adebayo-Smith: ‘I don’t feel the pressure’

Courtesy Lincoln City FC

I got to interview Jordan Adebayo-Smith this week for the club programme, but due to heavy workload I didn’t get an article out in the run up to the game.

If you were lucky enough to get a programme yesterday, you’d have read about him moving from the bright lights of East London to a sleep Lincolnshire village, as well as expressing his joy at making his debut in the EFL Trophy against Accrington. I know it’s not a popular competition, but to hear the joy in the lad’s voice as he spoke of making his bow confirmed it does have a place in the football calendar, in some guise.

Away from the programme piece I got to ask him if he feels any pressure, being so highly rated. He’s recently been named in ‘The 11’, a collection of the most exciting young players in the country recognised for their ability, application and potential.

England Under 20s World Cup Winners Ademola Lookman, Dael Fry (Middlesbrough), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (formerly Sheffield United) and Lewis Cook (formerly Leeds United) have all previously been named in ‘The 11’, meaning it is a huge accolade and one the reflects fantastically on the young winger.

Courtesy Lincoln City FC

Having now made his first team debut, as well as scoring against West Brom in the FA youth Cup, I wondered if he felt any sort of expectation at all.

“I don’t feel the pressure as such. In the big games I like to show what I can do, when people are watching. I don’t feel pressure, I don’t really see that. I play my game, I focus on the tactics and try to win the game, always. That’s what I do and it is what I will keep on doing.”

He didn’t feel the pressure in his Imps trial a game against Derby County Under 23s, when he scored, just pride. The same applies for the Accrington game and doubtless will apply when he finally makes his Football League debut.

I enjoyed speaking to Jordan. He was very careful to select the right words, clearly not wanting to say the wrong thing and he kept his answers succinct as you’d expect a 17-year old to. He isn’t one to get carried away with his achievements and it was hard to believe I was chatting to a young man who had made his Imps debut before turning 18, such was his demeanour. He spoke softly, almost too softly for me to hear at times, but also with a certainty over his own ability.

I can’t wait to see how he develops, both as a man and as a player, over the coming years. The early signs are very, very exciting.