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4 footballers who are playing in the wrong position right now

Oleksandr Zinchenko primarily plays as a midfielder
Oleksandr Zinchenko primarily plays as a midfielder
Priyank Mithani
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The game of football has always managed to provide us with tremendous entertainment. A lot of it comes because of some stunning battles on the pitch.

This not only involves the players but also the managers. Over time, the value of being tactically sound only increases when it comes to managing a club.

The best example of this is the difference between how Chelsea played under former manager Frank Lampard and current manager Thomas Tuchel.

Tactics have a big role in the performance of a player

A key part of getting the tactics right is playing a player in the right position. While some players have blossomed when tried in an unnatural position, it is not always fruitful for a footballer.

Currently, a handful of players are playing in a different position than where they normally play. This has so far not been that helpful to their cause and it is best that they are shifted to their original position.

On that note, let's take a look at four players who are playing in the wrong position in club football right now:


#4 Rodrigo (Leeds United)

Leeds United v Leicester City - Premier League
Leeds United v Leicester City - Premier League

Rodrigo has played in England, Spain and Portugal in his football career so far. His best time, though, has come with Valencia in La Liga.

Traditionally, the Spanish forward has played in a striker role. Rodrigo can play in a formation with two strikers upfront and also as a lone centre-forward. With Valencia, the Spaniard was quite efficient in scoring, especially during his partnership with Kevin Gameiro.

Rodrigo is very harshly criticised imo, he’s played 90% of his games at Leeds out of position and despite that still had the second highest goal contributions per 90 in the whole team last season. Let’s also not forget his end of season form when he had a run of games at CF.

When he arrived at Leeds United in 2020, he was touted as a strong competitor for Patrick Bamford. But manager Marcelo Bielsa had other plans. The Argentine used Rodrigo as a centre-forward only seven times last season in 26 appearances. The Spaniard has played nine games as a striker this season because of an injury to Patrick Bamford.

The former Valencia forward is a great threat in the box and his best is most likely to come when played centrally at the top. Leeds United will surely benefit if Rodrigo is played more in the striker role. It will be interesting to see if he will be forced back into an unnatural role when Bamford returns from injury.


#3 Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa)

Liverpool v Aston Villa - Premier League
Liverpool v Aston Villa - Premier League

Emiliano Buendia is quite a versatile player as he can play in a number of positions in attack. His best came with Norwich as the Argentine twice played an important role in helping the Canaries earn promotion to the Premier League.

Aston Villa signed Buendia in the summer transfer window after the departure of Jack Grealish to Manchester City. Since then, the former Norwich attacker has played in different positions but is yet to flourish satisfactorily. Buendia did amazingly well when he played as a right winger at Norwich.

So much buendia criticism ffs he was playing out of position yet he linked all of our play won fouls when we were under pressure and retained possession in the oppositions half we were comfortable because of him. https://t.co/vK4tf9cD8G

It gave him the freedom to cut inside or stay wide, adding more unpredictability to his game. As a right winger, Buendia contributed 32 goals last season in just 41 appearances.

At Aston Villa, he has played on the right wing just five times out of 15 matches this season, which has resulted in just one goal for the club so far.

Should Buendia play more frequently on the right wing, it will be beneficial for both the club and the player.

#2 Adrien Rabiot (Juventus)

Chelsea FC v Juventus: Group H - UEFA Champions League
Chelsea FC v Juventus: Group H - UEFA Champions League

Adrien Rabiot is one of the most talented midfielders when on song. Unfortunately, the Frenchman has lacked consistency in his game, limiting his success to a large extent.

Having started his career in France, Rabiot has spent the majority of his club career at Paris Saint-Germain. Although he won six Ligue 1 titles with them, he eventually fell out with the French giants over contractual terms. In the summer of 2019, he signed for Juventus and has been with them since.

Employed as part of a double pivot, Adrien #Rabiot ('95) 🇫🇷 was solid all game in #JuveNapoli:40 accurate passes (93%)7/11 duels won3 clearancesOften criticised at #Juventus, today he showcased his full repertoire in his natural position.Will he stay with Bianconeri? 🕵️ https://t.co/PLx4IaPBsc

For the most part of hs football career so far, Rabiot has played as a central midfielder and that is where his strength lies. With his tall and strong physique and amazing technical abilities, the Frenchman is capable of having a dominant presence in midfield. With different managerial changes at Juventus, his position has changed frequently in the past year.

The 26-year old has played in central midfield only five times in 17 Serie A appearances this season. He played 10 other matches either as a left-winger or left wing-back.

Such changes are bound to affect his natural game and the sooner he is shifted back to central midfield, the better it will be for Juventus and him.


#1 Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City)

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain: Group A match - UEFA Champions League
Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain: Group A match - UEFA Champions League

Pep Guardiola has done a phenomenal job at Manchester City, having already won three Premier League titles to his name. The Spaniard has inherited a world-class squad in England and it does at times give him a selection dilemma.

Among those talented players is Oleksandr Zinchenko. The Ukrainian is quite underrated given the acknowledgement other Manchester City players get. He's a versatile player who primarily likes to play in midfield. Zinchenko is a good reader of the game and has the intellect to play tactfully as a central midfielder.

Pep Guardiola:"Aleks [Zinchenko] fought a lot to be here, a transfer was possible and he said 'no I want to be here'. That means a lot. Second, he’s a guy who played in another position and never complains, and third he doesn’t make mistakes."

Given the wonderful options Guardiola has in midfield, it has been difficult for him to give Zinchenko game-time in his natural position. Instead, the Spanish manager has preferred to play him at left-back given his adaptive nature.

He played in midfield only once in 31 appearances last season. This season too, Zinchenko has played there only once in eight matches.

Zinchenko has done decently well there but given his attributes he is more suited to play in midfield. Whether he will regularly get to play there in the future is a big question and only Guardiola can answer that.

Edited by Nived Zenith
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