Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

15.36 9 Oct 2019


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Most footballers become associated with certain positions on the field.

It's obviously the case for goalkeepers. But some outfielders become typecast. For example, if you think of Robbie Keane, Alan Shearer or Gary Lineker, centre-forward comes to mind. Obviously, there are nuances in how they interpret their own roles.

Some players remain at home on the wings, others are full-backs all their lives, while a few are eternal centre-backs.

But there are many cases of footballers starting out in one position but actually becoming better and even earning legend status by taking on new roles.

Adama Traore

That's something we touched on this week on Team 33. The spark was Adama Traore's trajectory at Wolves this season.

The 23-year-old had previously been a winger in Barcelona's youth teams and then at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. One could say he was frustrating in terms of his end product, albeit still being quite young. But he has undergone a transformation in 2019-20. Rather than playing as a winger, he is now thriving as a wing-back.

The Guardian had highlighted that shift in role earlier in this nascent campaign. But he announced himself as a force at wing-back against Manchester City. Two goals on the break helped to shift the balance of the title race away from Man City and made Nuno Espirito Santo's decision to alter his position seem genius. Of course, his upward trajectory as a right wing-back is a direct threat to Ireland's Matt Doherty.

Speaking of Doherty, the player ahead of him for Ireland - Seamus Coleman - also made a change similar to Traore. The Everton and Ireland captain had arrived in Merseyside as a right-winger. But his career will be remembered for what he has achieved as a right-back.

Andrea Pirlo was another who we highlighted. Originally an attacking midfielder, the former AC Milan great moved further back to become the regista of all deep-lying playmakers.

Even the great Lionel Messi was at his highest of goal-scoring peaks when Pep Guardiola moved him from wing to False 9. That quartet of shape-shifting footballers were just the tip of the iceberg in our discussion which starts 33 minutes in. And feel free to tweet us in your own suggestions to @teamthirtythree.

Podcast

You can listen to the full podcast right below for more examples, hereor on iTunes

Sliding Doors: When footballers' fortunes change in new positions

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Also on this week's show, much of the first half was dedicated to Manchester United's continuous woes. We also discussed Galwegian Aaron Connolly's rise into the Ireland squad and the growth of players from outside Dublin, previously productive other pockets of the country and those born in the UK. And we also touched on the future of the League of Ireland.


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