USA international Tyler Adams took to the Bundesliga with aplomb on his competitive debut for RB Leipzig, bossing the midfield and helping his side to a 4-0 victory away to Fortuna Düsseldorf on Matchday 19.
The 19-year-old, who arrived at the club during the winter transfer period from the New York Red Bulls, was an unused substitute against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 18, but with fellow central midfielder Kevin Kampl struggling with an ankle injury, head coach Ralf Rangnick thrust Adams into his side on Sunday.
The fact he played the full 90 minutes is testament to the quality of his performance – Rangnick is not the type to tolerate anything less than exceptional – and his terrier-esque presence in the middle of the park disrupted countless Düsseldorf moves.
Indeed, by the final whistle Adams had covered more ground (7.28 miles), made more intensive runs than (97) and won more tackles (17) than anyone else on the pitch. That latter figure is particularly impressive, as at 5'9", Adams is not the tallest player, but he still won 67 per cent of all his aerial duels.
He is by no means just a hard-working foot soldier, though. Adams had 64 touches of the ball – the fourth most of any of his Leipzig teammates – and completed 81 per cent of all his passes, keeping the visiting side ticking over in midfield and occasionally attempting to break down Düsseldorf's ranks with more adventurous balls forward.
Adams' team-mate Yussuf Poulsen, who scored twice in the win, was impressed with his new colleague's efforts. "Tyler had a fantastic game and in the first half he won pretty much every tackle he went into," he said. "It was really good for such a young player in a new team and a new league. He was good in the duels, good in the pressing […] he played from deep and was a good addition to our team."
Watch: Adams discusses life in Leipzig after his Bundesliga debut
Nevertheless, the new Leipzig No.14 is keen to keep his head down and improve. "RB Leipzig's a top-class team, from the training facilities to the fans to the environment every day," he told bundesliga.com after the final whistle.
"You're around a bunch of professionals. For me to take it all in, digest it and be patient is the key for me. I'm not going to play in 10 games in a row all the time. I have to be patient, wait for my time, work hard and get better every day."
Ten games in a row may indeed be ambitious at this stage of his career, but his Man of the Matchday display should certainly have done enough for a place in the side away to Hannover on Matchday 20 next week.
The Top 5 North Americans in the Bundesliga
The 2021/22 season promises to be one of the most compelling yet for viewers in the United States and Canada, with such an array of talent on display.
Bayern vs. Leipzig: where will it be won and lost?
We size up the Bundesliga's top two ahead of Saturday's heavyweight encounter at the Allianz Arena.
A US group chat with Adams, Sargent and Reyna
2020/21 promises to be a statement season for US stars Gio Reyna, Tyler Adams and Josh Sargent.