Tyler Adams (left) has “got freakish potential,” says Dax McCarty.  (William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Dax McCarty has a message for all Red Bulls’ fans and media about the team’s new defensive midfielders Sean Davis and Tyler Adams:

They will be fine and don’t call them replacements of the former Red Bulls captain.

“Great players, both of them,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair to say either of them are replacing me. It’s not fair to them. I think that’s obviously in the media and fans, everyone’s always going to talk about it. To me, they’re different players.

“Sean is not the same as I am. Tyler Adams is not the same player as I am. They’re both great players in their own right, but they both bring their own quality and their own unique abilities to the field and to the game.”

As it turned out, both midfielders are Homegrown Players.

A native of Holmdel, N.J., Davis, 24, deputized for McCarty when the veteran midfielder was injured last summer. He acquitted himself and ironically, Davis’ performance might have given Red Bulls management the idea of selling McCarty to the Chicago Fire Jan. 16.

“Sean Davis is a tremendous athlete, a tremendous competitor,” McCarty said in a phone interview from Chicago Wednesday. “He’s a guy who’s great with both feet. He’s a little bit of a box-to-box midfielder than I am. He’s much better going forward than me. I can admit that.”

McCarty will return to Red Bull Arena for the first time since that trade.

After playing in 21 matches in 2016, the 6-foot, 165-lb. Davis this season has not seen as much action as many fans and observers thought he would receive. He has started three matches, playing in five over 254 minutes.

Adams, 18, who hails from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., has received a majority of the playing time in that position. He has started five games and played 435 minutes. Next month the 5-9, 150-lb. Adams will head to South Korea with the U.S. Under-20 national team to participate in the U-20 World Cup.

“I’d say Tyler Adams is a little bit similar in the way I play, but Tyler is a young guy,” McCarty said. “He’s still coming into his own. He’s got freakish potential. Obviously, he’s young and still learning the game. I think that he’s only scratching the surface of what he’s capable of, so you need to be patient with guys like that.

“Sean and Tyler both, they’re going to have great games, they’re going to have not so great games. But it’s just a matter of just being patient. I don’t think it’s fair for people to compare them to me and what I did and I did for the club. We’re just different players. Just give them time to settle in and they’ll settle in. They’re going to make that team very good.”

Just like McCarty did.