By George Overhill

29th Nov, 2022 | 11:40am

Fox Sports pundit Stu Holden delighted by what he saw Leeds United favourite Tyler Adams do Monday

Tyler Adams gave an “all time classy answer” when the Leeds United midfielder was put on the spot in a press conference Monday, says Stu Holden.

In the midst of a growing stand off between the US and Iranian set-ups at the World Cup ahead of their crucial group game on Tuesday (29 November), and against the backdrop of wider political and societal unrest, the American captain was taken to task by an Iranian journalist.

After first being reprimanded for pronouncing Iran incorrectly he was asked if he was “okay representing a country that has so much discrimination against Black people”, and the 23-year-old’s response has earned him a lot of support, with Gary Lineker among notable figures who were impressed.

The United man replied, via a clip on Fox Soccer pundit Holden’s Twitter account: “My apologies on the mispronunciation of your country.

“That being said, there’s discrimination everywhere you go. One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past years, and having to fit in in different cultures, is that in the US we’re continuing to make progress every single day.

“I grew up in a white family with obviously an African American heritage and background as well, so I had a little bit of different cultures and I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures. Not everyone has that ease and the ability to do that, and obviously it takes longer to understand.

“And education I think it super important, like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country.

“It’s a process and I think as long as you see progress that’s the most important thing.”

The former Bolton midfielder was full of praise in reaction, writing: “Tyler Adams mispronounced Iran and was called out by an Iranian journalist – who followed up with a question on discrimination in the United States.

“His response: An all time classy answer- Captain & Leader.”

Old head on young shoulders

FIFA might want all wider issues kept separate from the World Cup but that is wishful thinking given the significance of an international tournament with so much of the world involved.

And this year’s one as much as any has brought political considerations to the fore, even if previous iterations didn’t get as much of the same focus as they should have.

But given the young Whites midfielder had been given somewhat of a hospital pass by his own federation’s decision to alter the Iranian flag [Guardian] without consulting with the squad or coach Gregg Berhalter he handled it well.

Had he given the journalist the sort of defensive response they were probably looking for Adams would have provoked a lot of criticism, as he likely would have if he had tried to avoid the issue entirely, so in the circumstances he did as well as he could have.

Clearly, the fact that the Leeds United man has been given the captain’s armband in the first place shows he has impressive maturity for his age, and his time in Qatar surely increases the likelihood of him taking on the same role at Elland Road.

If he maintains his current level of performance on the pitch, and develops it further, then there is little chance that Jesse Marsch or anyone else will be dropping him to the bench, so as long as another team doesn’t come calling with Champions League football like they did Kalvin Phillips he should be a fixture in the United midfield for the foreseeable future.

In other Leeds United news, one BBC pundit gets his Whites claim completely wrong live during a World Cup match.