The Villa boss has praised the teenage winger for his skill but believes that he still needs to learn how to use his talent in a "collective" context.
Adama, 19, joined Villa from Barcelona in August for a reported £7 million fee, having featured four times for the Catalan giants over the previous two seasons, while also recording eight goals and 18 assists in 63 games for their B team in the Spanish second division.
Having been regarded as one of European football’s hottest prospects, there were big expectations for the promising winger upon his arrival in England, but he has so far been limited to just six Premier League substitute appearances and one Capital One Cup start.
However, the Spanish-born Malian has provided some clear glimpses of his talent in the meantime, including during a three-minute cameo in the weekend’s 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal, when he almost netted a consolation goal following a brilliant solo run.
Villa fans have been crying out for him to be handed more playing time amid the team’s 15-game top-flight winless streak, but Garde has continued to stress that former Spain Under-19 international first needs to improve his team work and decision-making.
Much like former boss Tim Sherwood, the Frenchman acknowledges that Adama possesses an enormous amount of potential, but he has also warned that he will continue to struggle for opportunities until he learns to pick out a pass more often.
“Adama is a very talented young player,” Garde told AVTV. “He needs to improve, but football is not only about individual talent – it is also about collective intelligence of the way we want to play.
“He has a lot to improve in this part of the game. Of course, it’s a very, very big asset when you can dribble past one or two opponents, but you cannot rely only on that.
“Adama has very, very good skill but he needs to improve in different parts of his plays.”
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Adama did make a bright start to life at Villa, scoring on his full debut in a 5-3 Capital One Cup second-round victory over Notts County in August, but a calf injury suffered in the second half of the match subsequently ruled him out of action for four weeks.
The majority of supports expected him to force his way into the line-up immediately upon his return, but neither Sherwood nor successor Garde has seen enough from him in training to hand him a first Premier League start.
Sherwood was even critical of the former La Masia product’s substitute appearance in the 3-2 defeat at Liverpool in late September, when he attempted a match-leading eight dribbles but just four passes during his 21 minutes on the pitch.
“With Adama, you see the best and the worst of him and, unfortunately, we haven’t seen the best of him today,” Sherwood told AVTV after the loss. “He is a real threat but he can also be detrimental to your side at certain stages and he needs to learn – we knew that from the start.”
Now Adama seems to be in much the same boat with Garde, but as Villa sit bottom of the table with just six points from 16 games, it might not be long before his manager has no choice but to turn to him to see if he can offer the attacking spark needed to save their season.