Top 5 active players who successfully changed their playing position
Switching positions isn't always easy for a footballer. However, for some, that was exactly what they needed
There are several factors behind a player changing his playing position, including an injury to a teammate, a tactical change in the team set up and playing personnel or just to make better use of his skill set. However, no matter the reason, the experiment more often than not fails to bear any significant results. Yet, some players have switched positions which have immensely benefitted their careers and their teams.
To illustrate, Zinedine Zidane played on the left of Madrid's midfield to accommodate the other Galacticos, Thierry Henry became Arsenal's record goalscorer after ditching the flanks for the centre-forward position, Fabio Cannavaro was once a full-back at Internazionale and Bastian Schweinsteiger evolved from playing on the wing for club and country to rival the likes of Xavi and Scholes at their peak.
Interestingly, these players have all retired (except for Schweni who still plays in the MLS), but some active footballers have illustrious careers capable of rivalling those of the players mentioned earlier. These five players stand out from the remaining 'position changers'.
#5 Joshua Kimmich
For all of Guardiola’s perceived faults, he has an uncanny ability for unearthing gems from a club’s academy. He has always blended youth with experience. But since Busquets and Pedro (two of Guardiola’s many discoveries) have become household names, many tend to have forgotten that Guardiola is an acclaimed master of facilitating the progress of youth talents. However, a particular Bundesliga star is around to remind everyone that Guardiola isn’t all about spending; his name: Joshua Kimmich.
When Kimmich was brought in from Leipzig, he was traditionally a defensive midfielder. Yet, Guardiola – during his time at Bayern – started deploying the German at right-back. Kimmich found a new lease of life in his position and has gone on to establish himself as the first-choice right full-back for club and country, thereby addressing the position problem that once plagued Die Mannschaft due to Lahm’s retirement.
Kimmich has proven to be very mature, dynamic, great with the ball at his feet, and productive at the other end of the pitch, evident in his number of goals and assist. The 22-year-old’s veteran-like displays, humility, work ethic, and a willingness to learn have made him become a mainstay in the German senior national team, culminating in consecutive 23-match for the world champions.
Watching Kimmich play for full 90 minutes, scoring goals for fun, and assisting like a central midfielder would convince you that he has the world at his feet and that he is already the best right-back in the world.