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Adu Packs His Bags as Britain Wonders What all the Fuss is About

Freddy Adu shows up next week to start training with Manchester United, and the press is getting ready. Just about every major British paper has included some kind of story on the 17-year old Ghanaian American's two-week training session. They're all wondering, of course, whether the hype surrounding the kid is even justified. It's important to keep in mind that few of these reporters and columnists have ever seen him play; Major League Soccer, of course, isn't broadcast in Britain. So most point to his numbers in MLS, which columnist Ian Plenderleith points out are not bad, especially for a 17-year old. Played almost exclusively as a winger in his three years with D.C. United, Adu has scored 11 goals in 59 starts and 29 appearances as a sub. Healthy numbers, but no one in the American media is referring to Adu as a "teen phenom" anymore-that ship sailed a while ago. When Freddy signed his contracts with MLS and Nike in 2004, the U.S. media were all over him. He was on the cover of newspapers and magazines, featured on TV news programs and compared to Pele; he even made an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. However, big media haven't cared much since then, partly because America wants to see its "phenom" scoring three and four goals every game. Adu, meanwhile, has had a lot of growing up to do at D.C. United. Now a regular starter with Peter Nowak's United, he has indeed done a lot of growing up since 2004, but Adu's relationship with Nowak has never been easy. Says Plenderleith, "Whether Adu remains the victim of media hyperbole, or whether he goes on to fulfil his undoubted potential, may depend on who coaches him next."

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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