Football

'Metz made me a team player'

French sojourn improved Adam

"The most important thing I learnt was good team play. Before I used to think football was all about dribbling and beating your man." - Adam Swandi (above) on what he learnt at FC Metz - TNP PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

There was much publicity surrounding French Ligue 1 club FC Metz's signing of young Singapore footballer Adam Swandi in Feb 2013.

Just 17 at the time, Adam had impressed the then French third tier club's coaches during a week-long stint in France three months earlier.

But 18 months on, the 18-year-old returned to Singapore and has joined the Courts Young Lions as the team prepares for the 2015 Great Eastern Yeo's S.League and June's South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

The playmaker's hopes of gaining match experience in Europe were dashed when it emerged that he had to be 18 in order to be eligible to play.

Once he turned 18, it then took another six months to acquire the permit that would authorise him to play.

Adam played in only one league game for the youth team before his contract expired.

He acknowledged that while he wasn't the most imposing physically, it was not the factor that determined whether he got playing time while he was at Metz.

"I am physically small, but I compensate for that with my technique," he said.

"Football is not about physique; there were players who were as small as me (at Metz), so my physique was never the reason I did not play."

Adam admitted that he had difficulties overcoming the language barrier while training with his foreign teammates - a hurdle which took him about three to four months to overcome.

"I also couldn't understand the coaches' instructions because they were all in French.

"Once, I shouted 'Man on!' and everyone on the field was confused," he recalled, laughing.

NO REGRETS

Nevertheless, Adam has no regrets about his time with Metz, and insisted that he has become a better player for the experience.

He said: "It's not easy for Singaporeans to get a contract in a country like France. The most important thing I learnt was good team play.

"Before I used to think football was all about dribbling and beating your man."

The playmaker's dream of succeeding in Europe remains alive.

"Of course I want to go back," he said.

"It's every footballer's dream to make it in Europe."