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10 most versatile players in world football at the moment

The likes of Kimmich and Milner are well-known for their versatility
The likes of Kimmich and Milner are well-known for their versatility

Modern football has seen a growing demand for versatile players. What was once a rarity in the sport has become more commonplace. Players capable of playing multiple positions serve their own cause as it helps them play more and also makes them very important to the team.

While there are certain players capable of playing different roles in a particular position, few players are capable of playing in entirely different positions. It requires high match intelligence and a necessary amount of quality to be able to grasp the needs of a particular position.

The emergence and rise of players like David Alaba, Daley Blind and more recently Joshua Kimmich highlight the fact that such players are the need of the hour; squad building becomes easy because of such players.

We look at the 10 most versatile players in world football at the moment.

#10 DANIEL WASS

Daniel Wass in Valencia colours
Daniel Wass in Valencia colours

While he might not be as big a name as some other names in this list, Daniel Wass has enjoyed a good career in the top flight.

The Denmark international has played for the likes of Evian and Celta Vigo before moving to Valencia in 2018 for €6 million. An incredibly versatile player, Wass is capable of playing in both full-back positions, in the midfield as well in more advanced positions.

At Valencia, the 31-year-old has been utilised predominantly as a right-back. Strong defensively and a reliable presence, Wass has established himself as a regular in the first team for the Spanish club.


#9 ASHLEY YOUNG

Ashley Young was the Manchester United captain during his time there
Ashley Young was the Manchester United captain during his time there

Ashley Young was much-maligned during his latter years at Manchester United but there is no denying that he plugged various gaps during his time at the club.

Having begun his career as a winger, Young made his name at Aston Villa, moving to Manchester United in 2011 for €18 million. Having been a winger under Sir Alex Ferguson, the England international started operating as a full-back under Louis van Gaal, with Jose Mourinho using him in both full-back positions.

A consistent performer, the 35-year-old moved to Antonio Conte's Inter Milan for €1.5 million this year, where he has been in fine form, scoring four goals in 18 league appearances.


#8 NACHO

Nacho has been a useful player for Real Madrid
Nacho has been a useful player for Real Madrid

A product of the Real Madrid youth academy, Nacho Fernandez has become a useful addition to the squad since his promotion to the first team in 2011.

A strong, physical defender, Nacho is capable of playing in every defensive position. His versatility makes him an ideal bench option, with the 30-year old covering for the likes of Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos but also for Dani Carvajal and, on occasions, Marcelo.

Despite the additions of Ferland Mendy and Eder Militao, Nacho continues to be one of Zinedine Zidane's trusted squad options. While he predominantly plays as a centre-back, the Spain international, in recent years, has been used more in the full-back roles.


Also Read: 10 greatest defenders of the 21st century

#7 DALEY BLIND

Daley Blind playing for the Netherlands
Daley Blind playing for the Netherlands

A product of the famed Ajax youth academy, Daley Blind established himself in the 2014 World Cup, playing as a left-back for the Netherlands. Louis van Gaal's appointment as Manchester United manager saw him buy Blind for €17.5 million from Ajax.

The Netherlands international became a vital cog in van Gaal's system; he was initially utilised as a defensive midfielder before transitioning into the club's first-choice centre-back capable of playing as a left-back if needed. After four seasons with the club, the 30-year old returned to Ajax, where he is the club vice-captain.


#6 JAMES MILNER

James Milner celebrating Liverpool's Premier League triumph
James Milner celebrating Liverpool's Premier League triumph

A consummate professional, James Milner's career in the English top flight has been an exceptional one.

Having begun his career at Leeds United, Milner played for the likes of Newcastle United and Aston Villa before moving to Manchester City in 2010. Here, the England international became an important player of a side which would win multiple trophies. Milner usually played in the midfield or on the wings.

The 34-year-old moved to Liverpool on a free in 2015. Here, he began playing as a left-back, performing at a high level.

Milner would play a crucial role as Liverpool won the Champions League and the Premier League and while his role as a player in the team might be diminishing, there is no denying his leadership and influence off the field.


#5 EMRE CAN

Emre Can in action for Germany
Emre Can in action for Germany

Emre Can has made appearances for some of the biggest clubs in the world, and he finally seems to have settled at Borussia Dortmund.

Can began his career with Bayern Munich, moving to Bayer Leverkusen in 2013, where he would make his name. After a four-season stint with Liverpool, the Germany international moved on a free to Juventus before finally joining Borussia Dortmund in 2020 for €25 million.

A tenacious player, Can can play in a variety of positions; although a midfielder, the 26-year old is capable of playing as a right-back or in defensive midfield and at Dortmund, manager Lucien Favre has often started him as a centre-back.


#4 OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO

Oleksandr Zinchenko has become an important player at Manchester City
Oleksandr Zinchenko has become an important player at Manchester City

Not many thought Oleksandr Zinchenko would become a vital cog for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City when he was signed from FC Ufa in 2016.

An attacking midfielder, it was hard to see the Ukraine international playing ahead of the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva; a loan move to PSV Eindhoven subsequently followed. However, consistent injuries to left-back Benjamin Mendy and lack of alternatives resulted in Zinchenko playing there.

The 23-year-old has been very good in his new position and is now seen as a direct rival to Benjamin Mendy's spot. A creative player with good stamina, Zinchenko has developed well under Guardiola and looks likely to improve.


Also Read: 10 greatest goalkeepers of the 21st century

#3 BERNARDO SILVA

Bernardo Silva before a Manchester City game
Bernardo Silva before a Manchester City game

The second and final Manchester City player in this list, Bernardo Silva has been a revelation since joining the club in 2017 from AS Monaco for €50 million.

A tricky, skilful winger at the Monegasque club, the Portugal international has been transformed into a tenacious and hardworking midfielder under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola. A consistent presence, Silva's performances in 2018-19 season were such that he won the club's Player of the Year trophy.

Excellent creatively with good vision and passing, the 26-year-old continues to operate on the wings for the Portugal national team. He has been linked with a move to Barcelona in recent months but it looks unlikely to happen.


#2 DAVID ALABA

David Alaba in action for Bayern Munich
David Alaba in action for Bayern Munich

One of Bundesliga and Bayern Munich's best players for some time now, David Alaba has quietly established himself as a world-class player.

His incredible versatility is of huge importance; the Austria international is capable of playing as a left-back, on the left-wing, in central midfield as well as at the centre-back position. His intelligence and natural athleticism means that he has little trouble adapting to such diverse roles.

The 28-year-old played as a centre-back in the Champions League final last season, which Bayern Munich won. With just a year left in his contract, the Bavarian giants and Alaba's camp have been in discussion for some time now; Manchester City, Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona are all interested.


#1 JOSHUA KIMMICH

Joshua Kimmich is regarded as one of the best right-backs in the world
Joshua Kimmich is regarded as one of the best right-backs in the world

When Philipp Lahm retired in 2017, not many thought that Bayern Munich would be able to replace him so quickly.

However, in Joshua Kimmich, they had a tailor-made replacement. The Germany international seems to have the same professionalism that Lahm was renowned for as well as the incredible technical ability and versatility of the former German national team captain.

A midfielder during his RB Leipzig days, the 25-year-old has now made his name as one of the best right-backs in the world. Manager Hansi Flick has played him in midfield as well; such were his performances there that the club brought in Alvaro Odriozola on loan from Real Madrid in January just so Kimmich could play more in midfield.


Also Read: Top 10 international goalscorers of all time

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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