Town boss feels Adebayo looks at home in the top flight now as he backs Luton striker to get even better

Nine Premier League goals for the in-form Hatters forward this season
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Luton boss Rob Edwards believes Town striker Elijah Adebayo is showing he belongs in the Premier League now after the forward was nominated for the EA Sports Player of the Month award for January.

Despite there only being two games last month, Adebayo managed to bag three goals in that time, all three of them coming in the same game as he scored the club’s first top flight hat-trick since Lars Elstrup in 1990 when netting a treble against Brighton & Hove Albion at Kenilworth Road during a stunning 4-0 success. He then followed that up with another goal against Newcastle United last weekend, which took his tally to nine for the season and an impressive seven in eight games since being restored to the starting line-up for the 4-3 defeat to Arsenal in December.

Thrilled to the forward in the running for the monthly gong, with voting closing on Monday, Edwards, himself up for the Manager of the Month award, believes there is still even more to come from a player who had spells in non-league after coming through at Fulham, going on to ply his trade in the lower leagues with Cheltenham, Swindon, Stevenage and Walsall, before his move to Kenilworth Road in February 2021, going on to score 41 goals in 136 matches.

Town striker Elijah Adebayo celebrates scoring against Brighton last month - pic: Liam SmithTown striker Elijah Adebayo celebrates scoring against Brighton last month - pic: Liam Smith
Town striker Elijah Adebayo celebrates scoring against Brighton last month - pic: Liam Smith

He said: “Those individual ones are great, really good recognition for Eli. I think we’ve had some very good individual performances for quite a long time now and he’s in there because of not just the goals, but his all-round contribution as well. His work-rate and what he’s been doing is sensational, so really pleased for him. I’ve been really impressed, he looks at home at this level, he does. That’s real credit to him, to his mentality, to his work-rate, his desire to improve, so he’s a brilliant inspiration to a lot of young people. His journey, to see where he is right now and the great thing is, the exciting thing for us is that there’s loads more to come as well. I think he’s just starting to realise his potential, which is brilliant.”

With the forward now closing in on becoming the first Luton player to reach double figures in the top flight since Mick Harford managed to do so in the 1991-92 season, it is some turnaround for Adebayo, who began the season only managing to find the net twice in his opening 14 matches. He was eager to praise his team-mates for creating the kinds of chances that have allowed him to become one of the most feared players at this level on current form, and the backroom staff for their advice when he was out of the team as well, as he continued: “I know we’ve only played two games, but it’s been a good month all round.

"Trolls (Paul Trollope, assistant manager) has been on me about being in the six yard box, that’s where the goals are scored. Anything can fall to you in the six yard box and that’s the message that I’ve taken. Even when I wasn’t in the side, he was telling me when you get your chance you need to be in the six yard box and that’s where predominantly all my goals have come from. It's a fantastic achievement for myself, but I couldn't have done it without the team, creating the opportunities for me to go and score.

"I think the group here, I’ve said it many times, it’s special to have that click that you probably don't see in many places. We’ve just got to keep using that, keep using each other, making sure that we've got each other’s backs and hopefully come the end of the season we’re on the right side of the dotted line.”

Two of Adebayo’s last four goals have been from the creative genius that is another of Luton’s in-form players, midfielder Ross Barkley, who has produced a string of starring displays for the Hatters in recent weeks and months. The striker knows just how important the England international is for the Hatters too, adding: “I thought he sold me short against Newcastle! But the quality he possesses is fantastic. You know what you’re going to get with him, he knows when to make the right decision, the weight of pass, those are the final details that for us attackers, we obviously want. We want people who are going to make the right decisions at the right times. Everyone jokes about it, but it’s just give Ross the ball isn’t it?”