Former Sheffield United manager Micky Adams has endorsed Conor Sammon’s claim that playing League of Ireland football can be the springboard to a successful career in England, writes James Shield.
Sammon represented University College Dublin and Derry City before joining Wigan Athletic four years ago and attributes his achievements to those spells at the UCD Bowl and Brandywell Stadium.
Although Adams, now in charge of Sligo Rovers, accepts it is viewed by many Irish youngsters as an unconventional route - “most want to go to England at some point” - he told The Star last night: “The standard over here is good and, for me, the most important thing is that every single game is really competitive. There isn’t a great deal of difference between the teams and the top and those at the bottom which means each match is a test.
“For a young player, being in an environment like that at an early age can be priceless. Being exposed to what you might want to call ‘proper mens’ football’ toughens you up both mentally and physically. There’s no right or wrong way but there are some very good players over here and they don’t all have to take the same path. I totally understand where Conor is coming from.”
Adams, who left Bramall Lane in 2011, was appointed by Rovers last month after being tasked with keeping the three time champions in the Premier Division of what, for sponsorship purposes, is now known as the SSE Airtricity League.
“Physically, it’s a really demanding competition,” Adams said. “You can’t get mollycoddled but we give our young lads all the help they need. We’ve got two very good lads with us at the moment and, as well as giving them football guidance, we’ve put them in the gym to build them up a bit too.”