TONY PULIS deserves some of the credit for the remarkable rise of Adama Traore.
The bustling box of tricks has impressed at Wolves this season – having scored a brace in the away win at Manchester City.
But it hasn’t been all plain sailing since moving to England for the former Barcelona prodigy.
Having left Barcelona for Aston Villa in 2015, manager Tim Sherwood quickly lost faith in the precocious talent.
His decision making was often questioned, and one manager even labelled him “thick” earlier in his career.
But after being shown a bit of faith by Pulis at Middlesbrough – and being given regular instructions by the former Stoke City boss, Traore began to flourish at the Riverside.
The 61-year-old manager would even play Traore on whichever wing was closest to the dugout – so that he could bark constant instructions at the Spanish youth international.
And Pulis told The Athletic: “He’s a lovely lad.
“Great standards and values. Not big time at all. He just lacked a little bit of self-belief and a little bit of belief in people who were in charge of him.
“He’d make a mistake and look across to see if you were shouting at him. He was like a cowered cat who had been smacked too many times. We had to get that out of him.
“I used to shout — and you could hear me and everyone would laugh — ‘Adama, Adama’ all the time. I pulled him in one day and said to him, ‘Adama, I actually woke up last night shouting ‘Adama!’ and I’m really pleased it was a boy’s name, not a girl’s name, otherwise my wife would have killed me!’”
“When he left the club he went and saw everybody, all the staff, and took them chocolates and gifts – he’s just a lovely man.”
After dazzling performances in the Championship, Traore earned a move to Wolves in 2018, where he has gradually grown in importance under Nuno Espirito Santo.
With Traore storming down the right flank, Wolves have already secured progression to the Europa League round of 32, as well as sitting in a creditable sixth in the Premier League table.