How many times have “what could’ve been” and “Birmingham City” been referred to in the same sentence? Well yesterday’s 2-2 draw against Blackburn Rovers at home was a classic example. Blues, a goal up and cruising inside the first half an hour, took their foot off the gas entirely and had to rely on Adams bailing them out with a late equaliser. A point is obviously better than coming away with nothing but it could and really should’ve been all three.
I must add however that this was against an extremely good Blackburn side. With the prolific Danny Graham up front, captain Charlie Mulgrew leading from the back and, arguably one of the best players in the championship, Bradley Dack orchestrating it all, Blackburn are no pushovers. It was never going to be straightforward for Blues against another club who are punching above their weight with the limited resources they have.
Next up for Garry Monk’s charges is two tricky away games. Blues travel to Ashton Gate on Tuesday evening to face Bristol City and then next Saturday travel to Hull. Both games will be challenging with both teams attacks in-form. However, Blues have proved this season that they can get the job done away from home, the 2-1 win against Leeds earlier on this season highlighting this. With Villa on the horizon, a couple of good performances and results will give Blues the belief that they can go and not just beat the team stuck in 1982 but thrash them!
One thing I would just like to briefly address is the call for changes to the Blues team. Yes I have been saying this for a while but I do understand completely why Monk seems to pick virtually the same team every week. The call for Vassell to replace Juke is valid but let’s not forget that the system we play and the way we play would not work without Juke partnering Adams up top. As for the wingers, I have never been a fan of Maghoma and do believe Mahoney should start over him but the call for Jota to be hooked for Mrabti is strange. Jota, although being extremely inconsistent, is a fantastic player and I’m not sure if Mrabti is ready to start yet. However, as always, Garry knows best and in him we trust.
Anyway that’s my thoughts on the game yesterday and on the team but now I want to discuss another interesting, and yes another controversial, topic: Should Che Adams choose to play for England or Scotland?
Personally, I feel Che should choose Scotland. Now to many people this is a really crazy opinion. Why should Che choose to play for a country who haven’t qualified for a major tournament in over 20 years? Let’s not forget that Scotland also regularly mess up their qualification attempts with 1-1 draws at home to countries such as Lithuania! However, times are changing north of the border.
In Alex McLeish, the Scotland National team is in good hands. The ex-Rangers and Birmingham gaffer has the experience to get Scotland back onto the world stage but McLeish isn’t the main reason for the renewed optimism surrounding the Tartan Army. The main reason is the crop of players he now has at his disposal.
Boasting two goalkeepers who have been in fine form this season, Alan McGregor and Scott Bain, Scotland have a reliable man in between the sticks. With the sensational Kieran Tierney and, arguably one of best left-backs in the world, Andy Robertson, as well as the emerging youngsters Scott McKenna and David Bates in Central defence, Scotland have a young and talented defence. In Midfield, Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor have developed into fantastic box to box midfielders and let’s not forget Ryan Christie who has been a revelation for Celtic this season. In attack, Scotland are blessed with two fantastic wingers in Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser and in my opinion the SPFL’s best player this season in James Forrest. Forrest is brilliant. That is a fact. He has added goals to his game now and it is no surprise to see the dynamic winger linked with a move to Liverpool. Scotland really do have a good football team and a number of other promising youngsters such as Scott McTominay and Ollie Burke that can really help to get Scotland back on the map in footballing terms. That’s the positives but you may have noticed that one position has been missed out…
The one position Scotland really lack and have lacked for a long time is a true number 9 and a proper goal scorer. All you need to do is look at the players to lead the line for Scotland in the last few years: Chris Martin, Steven Fletcher and Leigh Griffths. They all put in a shift and work hard but they all aren’t blessed with great ability. Oil McBurnie is a decent alternative but again he is championship quality at best. Scotland are crying out for a goal scorer and Che Adams is just the man.
A player who puts in 100% every game, makes chances out of absolutely nothing and is deadly both inside and outside the box, Adams is the man for Scotland. I firmly believe Che would slot into the Scotland team brilliantly and, with a relatively good Qualification group for Euro 2020, Che could no doubt play a big part in helping Scotland reach the tournament and other tournaments in years to come. With a host of talented young players coming through the ranks, a good manager in McLeish and the huge improvements the SPFL has made this season in terms of quality of football, Scottish Football and the Scotland National team are on the up. The future is bright and Che Adams can transform Scotland from a Nation well equipped with failure to a nation who can get to and perform on the World Stage.
Of course seeing Che pull on the England jersey would be a proud moment for us Blues fans and, as I mentioned in my previous article, I don’t think he is that far away from receiving a call-up. However, let’s be reasonable here. With Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford being the main men for the Three Lions at the moment, and Southgate very rarely turning to anyone else to lead the line, opportunities to become an England regular seem few and far between for Che. Callum Wilson may be happy with playing in a friendly game every once in a while or getting 20 minutes off the bench in a routine 3-0 win but Our Che is better than that. Che deserves to be a regular and I sincerely doubt he will get that if he chooses to play for England.
Regardless of what I believe or what anyone else believes it all of course boils down to what Che wants to do. If Che chooses England over Scotland or Scotland over England then this decision is one we should all respect and get behind and support him with. Adams is one of the best players I’ve seen down the Blues in a long time and he has really come alive and started to reach his full potential at Birmingham City. Yes there may be some uncertainty around his International Career but one thing we are all certain of is that it will be a proud moment for us Blues fans when Adams bursts onto the International stage.
Photo Courtesy: Roy Smiljanic / BCFC