A manager loves a versatile player. Someone who can play in several different positions and maintain a good enough performance in any of them can be very useful, especially during a 38 game season, as well as domestic and European cup duties.

Good examples of versatile players in the Premier League at the moment are Manchester United’s Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, Tottenham’s Clint Dempsey and Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge. But we have also seen managers appearing to force versatility upon some top-flight players, insisting that they have what it takes to play out of position and still perform effectively.

The most notable is Theo Walcott at Arsenal. He is effective on the wing, but has admitted he’s better as a striker, although manager Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem to feel the same way, which is strange because whenever Walcott is moved into a striker’s role he seems to score.

Wenger’s determination for Walcott to remain a wide player at Arsenal looks like it could cost him dearly, what with Walcott not having yet signed a new contract and rumours suggest he wants assurances that he’ll play as a striker more often in order to secure his Arsenal future.

Last week, Liverpool’s on-loan midfielder Nuri Sahin claimed manager Brendan Rodgers is playing him out of position, with him being preferred in a No.10 role rather than his more accustomed holding midfield position. Sahin claims he’d much prefer to play as a holding midfielder because that’s where he feels he can be more effective, while Rodgers might argue there isn’t any need for him to have a holding midfielder in the tactics or formations that he uses.

That raises the question why Rodgers brought him to Anfield in the first place, knowing he was going to play him out of position, thus not getting the best out of a player who has performed well in a Real Madrid shirt in recent years.

James Tomkins at West Ham is another player who seems to have fallen victim of a manager’s belief that he is versatile and can do a job in midfield, despite being a centre-back.

Against Liverpool on Sunday, midfielder Mohamed Diame was carried off and needed replacing in the centre of midfield. Allardyce had Gary O’Neil on the bench, a player who has impressed in the middle of the park for West Ham in the past, but he chose to bring on Tomkins, a decision that many would argue cost the Hammers the game.

Liverpool scored twice with Tomkins in midfield and went on to win 3-2. A manager as experienced as Allardyce should have learned by now that Tomkins, who seems to be regularly cover in midfield for West Ham, looks out of place when he’s not in the back four.

The three examples above are examples of how not to push versatility on to a player, playing them out of position to suit their own ideas of how they want the game to be played. Arsenal could have more goals in them if Walcott played up front more often, Liverpool seem to be missing the best of an obvious talent in Sahin and Tomkins being played in midfield for West Ham pretty much cost them three points against Liverpool at the weekend.

We are always hearing players insisting they will help out in anyway possible for the manager and the team, but managers are responsible for getting the best out of their players and, unless it is proven that these players can play out of their comfort zone, it should be left to the players more suitable for the role being experimented with.

There are, of course, occasions when a manager appears to be forced into playing a player out of position because of injuries or suspensions leaving them with no other option. One option could be to tinker with their tactics or formation a little to ensure the player playing out of position can be as comfortable and effective as possible.

Managers know best, right? Well, when it comes to playing players out of position, some of them appear to be shooting themselves in the foot. Whether it’s goals or points at stake, some bosses can’t seem to see the difference between a versatile player and a player who just isn’t up to the job they are being asked to do.

Are managers shooting themselves in the foot by playing players out of position? Should more players be asked to be more versatile to strengthen their team?

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
WIN THE NEW ENGLAND KIT

Terms and Conditions

Why?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall

Login

Comment without logging in

You will need to fill this out each time to comment so why not quickly login with Facebook!

*

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
WIN THE NEW ENGLAND KIT

Terms and Conditions

Why login with Facebook?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall


  • Santa C
    1 year ago

    Stop picking on big Sam! Bully!

    Reply
    • James Jones
      1 year ago

      I’m a Hammers fan and would never pick on Big Sam, but his decision to bring on Tomkins instead of O’Neil cost us at least a point against Liverpool.

      Reply
  • just
    1 year ago

    people like you make me laugh going threw each club telling the managers what they should and should not be doing if it was so simple do you not think they would be doing it or are these clubs missing a trick not implying a clever DICK like you . your so good you could probably manage half a dozen at once.

    Reply
    • MICHELE
      1 year ago

      WELL SAID

      Reply
    • James Jones
      1 year ago

      So are you telling me that it works when players are played out of position? With the examples I used, it clearly doesn’t. I’m not implying that I know it all, but I’m simply pointing out where I think some managers have been going wrong this season.

      Or maybe Fergie should play Rooney in defence this weekend? After all, its only Sunderland at home and he’s got RVP up there to get the goals.

      Reply
  • QuirkyDal
    1 year ago

    Just says… Correct your bloody spelling and grammar before you criticise others and make stupid remarks like ‘clever dick’…
    When clearly you are the latter.

    Reply
    • Rich
      1 year ago

      I have to agree with you regarding the standard of written English on most of these blogs leaves a lot to be desired. Unfortunately these clowns don’t have the intelligence or inclination to turn on their spell checkers. As to the West Ham game, they should never have had the penalty in the first place, Allen could never have gotten out of the way of the shot, it was hit that hard from such a close range it nearly dislocated his arm.

      Reply
      • James Jones
        1 year ago

        I make no reference to the penalty but it was one of those decisions where in another game it wouldn’t have been given. Borderline.

        I do stand by my point that, had Allardyce brought on a proper midfielder to replace Diame, we would have been in a better position to hold on to the lead or, if not, at least take a point away from the game.

        Reply

Related Articles:

SIX ways to 'cement' Liverpool's Champions League charge
Fulham star embarrassed after Liverpool humiliation
West Ham boss hails reformed midfielder
Arsenal eye 'world class' signings
Manchester United defender struggling to cope with ‘embarrassing’ season