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Playing out of place not so strange when country calls, especially in crowded Spain midfield

Playing out of place not so strange when country calls, especially in crowded Spain midfield

Footballers' complaints about being played out of position often fade away at a major tournament such as the European Championship.
The case is shown in a crowded Spain midfield where any one of six players could be automatic starter if they were able to play for almost any other national team.
But coach Luis Aragones, never bullied by expectations, believes Spain's greatest strength lies in quick touches and possession built out of the midfield. The problem is with so many talented midfielders to choose from, playing in your natural position isn't always automatic.
Xavi Hernandez is the central figure with either Marcos Senna or Xabi Alonso backing him up to spread the ball wide to David Silva or Andres Iniesta. Spain has lost just four of 48 matches under Aragones and currently on a 16-game unbeaten run even though one of those four players finds himself in an unfamiliar position.
"It's clear that every player has his position where he does things best," Barcelona midfielder Iniesta said from Spain's glacier-side training base outside Innsbruck on Sunday. "In my case, the coach believes that the position I'm in can be useful for the team and it would be a waste of time to question it. I don't think about it."
Iniesta is used to playing in a slightly more central role at the Camp Nou, where his touch and speed through the middle usually ends with a delivery to winger Lionel Messi or striker Samuel Eto'o.
With Spain, the 23-year-old midfielder is working from the wing.
"Some people believe that such a change can prejudice or help. I want it to be favorable," he said.
He isn't the first to think like that.
Former FC Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard won two Champions League trophies and two Serie A titles from the center of AC Milan's midfield, but was in central defense when the Netherlands won Euro 88.
Lilian Thuram won a World Cup and the European Championship at left-back for France, but was a regular central defender at Parma, Juventus and most recently FC Barcelona. And in Saturday's opening round of matches at this year's European Championship, Portugal coach Felipe Luis Scolari shifted Paolo Ferreira from his preferred right-back spot to left for a 2-0 win over Turkey.
Aragones has told Iniesta that he was "fundamental" to Spain.
"I want to be useful," Iniesta said.


Updated : 2021-06-15 08:55 GMT+08:00