How life at Norwich City shaped Ebou Adams with Gambia international flourishing at Forest Green Rovers

How life at Norwich City shaped Ebou Adams with Gambia international flourishing at Forest Green Rovers

By Bobby Vincent

The midfielder speaks about his journey to League Two and his pride at representing Gambia

There are just two footballers in the Football League who represent Gambia at international level, both of whom play in League Two.

Ibou Touray, who scored Salford City’s first goal in their 2-1 away win over Forest Green recently and Rovers midfielder and fan favourite Ebou Adams.

Adams and Touray were both born in England, though, and despite their birthplace, both have chosen to represent the West African country.

The Forest Green star made his international debut back in 2017 for Gambia, against Morocco B, and has since featured against African Cup of Nations champions, Algeria, in 2018, completing 90 minutes.

“International level is the highest level to compete in, football-wise, playing against (countries like) Algeria,” Adams said.

“I don’t know what made me choose (to play for Gambia), but obviously making my mum and dad proud, who were both born in Gambia, it was an honour. It’s an honour to play for any country, really.”

Adams started his career at Dartford before being picked up by now Premier League side Norwich City, where he spent two seasons.

The 24-year-old never actually featured for the Canaries, having three loan spells during his time at Carrow Road.

Ebou Adams playing for Ebbsfleet against Cheltenham Town (Image: Antony Thompson/TWM)

His final loan spell was at Leyton Orient, who he admitted he came close to joining, but opted for Ebbsfleet United in the end, where he spent just one year.

Despite it not working out as he’d had hoped, Adams is very much grateful for his time in Norwich, admitting it helped shape him as a person, and improved many aspects of his footballing ability.

“It was very much important. It helped me out as a player, as a person and helped me tactically and technically as a player,” Adams said on his time at Carrow Road.

“Learning those parts of the game were so important.

“My contract came to an end at Norwich, and they didn’t offer me anything. It was then between Ebbsfleet and Leyton Orient.

“I just thought at the time that Ebbsfleet was the better deal for me. Looking at it now, Orient went and won the league.

“It was more for my progression in the end. All I wanted was some more game time, and I managed to get that at Ebbsfleet, so that was important.”

Bournemouth’s Jack Stacey (left) and Forest Green Rovers’ Ebou Adams (right) (Image: PA)

Forest Green head coach Mark Cooper brought the highly-rated midfielder to the New Lawn before the start of this season and since then the Gambia international has made himself a fans’ favourite as he continues to catch the eye in League Two.

He said it was an easy decision to join Forest Green.

“I was quite surprised when they came calling because I heard there were a few (clubs) interested in me, and one was Forest Green,” Adams said.

“Obviously last season with (Forest Green in) the play-offs, I was very surprised, and flattered, so I couldn’t really say no to them. Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve learned a lot and I’m enjoying my time here.”

Adams has scored three goals this season from midfield, with his highlight a brace against the club he nearly joined permanently, Leyton Orient in November, when Rovers beat the London-based team 4-2.

The majority of the season, he has spent time playing alongside Carl Winchester in the centre of Rovers’ midfield but has also been used further up the field when the side have been chasing a goal.

Ebou Adams for Forest Green Rovers vs Exeter City (Image: ©Thousand Word Media Ltd)

Rovers have suffered with some poor form recently, especially in front of goal, but Adams remains confident his team can turn their fortunes around and still challenge for promotion.

“Obviously, we’ve had a bit of a blip, but I’m feeling really confident,” Adams said.

“I’ve enjoyed it, especially in myself. The lads have had a little bit of a blip at this stage, but hopefully we can turn things around.

“Everyone’s buzzing to turn it around and looking forward to it. It’s just a blip, so it’s nothing concerning or anything. We were there (towards the top) before, so why not be there again?

“I’ve always backed myself to play in League One or League Two, so you’ve got to believe in yourself and obviously having the staff and the players that also believe in you; it’s a much-added boost.”

Two defeats in a row at the hands of Salford and Macclesfield Town have seen Forest Green slip out of the play-offs and down to ninth in League Two.

But Adams believes Rovers can still improve on last season’s play-off semi-final defeat to Tranmere Rovers and be promoted this season.

“We’ve got to start winning first. Automatic (promotion) is always the aim. If we have to settle for play-offs we will, but we want to get it over and done with. Nobody wants to go through the play-offs.”

First published by https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/

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