Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, last night issued a hand-off warning to clubs monitoring Che Adams in the transfer market.
Adams has emerged as one of Football League’s most exciting talents since arriving at Bramall Lane eight months ago and is known to count Cardiff City among his admirers.
But Adkins, who team returns to competitive action at Gillingham next weekend, told the Star: “Che is still a young lad and we are really looking forward to the future he’s got here with Sheffield United.
“He’s had an excellent pre-season with us and we’ve got to keep on top of him because he’s still got lots to learn.
“He can finish and he has got the strength to manipulate situations. Now what we’ve got to do is work with Che to make him a better player, which we will. Like I say, Che has got a big future here with us.”
Adams enters Sunday’s friendly against Hull City searching for his fifth goal of United’s summer friendly schedule after scoring twice at Macclesfield Town in midweek.
Adkins, who was unveiled as Nigel Clough’s successor last month, is adamant the former Ilkeston teenager has only shown glimpses of his true potential.
Newcastle, Sunderland, Nottingham Forest and Burnley were all chasing Adams before he opted for United, who have no intention of parting company with the 19-year-old, instead.
“Che has had opportunities in every game he’s played,” Adkins said. “He’s scored goals but he should have scored more without a doubt.
“There’s so much more we can do to keep developing his potential and that’s exactly what we are going to do.”
Meanwhile, Adkins has predicted that Billy Sharp will reap the benefits of his goal at Moss Rose when United’s latest bid for the Championship gets underway in eight days time.
Sharp completed a protracted £500,000 transfer from Yorkshire rivals Leeds last weekend and celebrated his return to Bramall Lane, 11 seasons after progressing through United’s youth system, by scoring their second of an emphatic 4-0 win.
“Billy’s goal was fantastic and every striker likes to get off the mark,” Adkins said. “He’ll be feeling good after doing that but, from our perspective, it was also really positive to see him do that following a great team move.
“There was some excellent play in the build-up to that goal from Jamal (Campbell-Ryce) and Kieron (Freeman) who has also done really well.”