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These 8 players will play in different positions than you’re used to at the World Cup

The names include a new England centre-back and a typically Spanish false nine

We all enjoy a change of scenery every so often.

No one manager is the same, they all have different philosophies, ideas and opinions on what are a player’s strengths and weaknesses.

Clearly, there are one or two differences between club and international managers when it comes to a player’s most effective position.


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Here are some of the names who you could see feature in a different role to the one they occupy for their respective clubs…

Kyle Walker – Centre-back

Kyle Walker has had a few games to adapt to his new position

Getty - Contributor
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Kyle Walker has had a few games to adapt to his new position

Gareth Southgate rocked the apple cart when he deployed Kyle Walker as one third of a back three against Holland in March.

Considering Walker’s superb form for Man City last season, everyone believed he was a guaranteed starter at right wing-back.

Southgate insists that the position is not too dissimilar for the role he was performing for Pep Guardiola’s side, often tucking inside from the right.

Walker played as centre-back in England’s friendlies against Italy and Nigeria and didn’t look out of place, however you can’t help but think he is better off as a marauding wing-back.

The move allows Kieran Trippier to come in as the right wing-back for the Three Lions.

Lukasz Piszczek – Centre-back

The Borussia Dortmund man is expected to have a change of role in the tournament

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The Borussia Dortmund man is expected to have a change of role in the tournament

Lukasz Piszczek has been a stalwart in the right-back position for both club and country for many years.

Poland will however use his experience to fulfil a different role for them this summer, deploying the Dortmund man as a right-sided centre-back.

Piszczek is likely to feature as part of a three-man defence for Poland during the World Cup, with the hope that a change of system will act as a catalyst to improve their woeful tournament record.

A potentially tournament-ending injury to centre-back Kamil Glik further reinforces the need to deploy Piszczek in central defence.


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Miguel Layun – Defensive midfielder

Miguel Layun won’t feature in his familiar left-back role

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Miguel Layun won’t feature in his familiar left-back role

Miguel Layun is best known as Porto’s first-choice left-back, a position he had made his own for many years with the Portuguese side.

The former Watford man departed Porto in January this year to join Sevilla on loan, where he has figured as a left-back for the Spanish side.

With his spot as Mexico’s first choice left-back under threat from Jesus Gallardo, Layun is no longer a guaranteed starter for the national team.

Layun has been deployed in a defensive midfield role for El Tri in their recent friendlies and that is where he is most likely to feature this summer.

He’s basically the Mexican Philipp Lahm.

Sebastian Larsson – Defensive midfielder 

Sebastian Larsson is just two appearances shy of 100 caps for Sweden

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Sebastian Larsson is just two appearances shy of 100 caps for Sweden

Sebastian Larsson is most fondly remembered for being a right-sided midfielder with Birmingham and Sunderland,

In his recent years with Hull however, the Swede has operated as a central attacking midfielder.

Larsson will drop deeper than his CAM role with the Tigers, and play as a deep-lying midfielder for Sweden this summer.

The Swede has featured in this position for the national team during their most recent friendlies before the World Cup.

Rafael Marquez – Defensive midfielder

Rafael Marquez will make his World Cup swansong in Russia this summer

AP:Associated Press
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Rafael Marquez will make his World Cup swansong in Russia this summer

At one point, Rafael Marquez was one of the best centre-backs in the world.

The Mexican rock had the defensive capabilities and athleticism to help him marshal the Barcelona defence alongside Carlos Puyol.

Now 39-years-old, Marquez retired from club football earlier this year, but made himself available for the World Cup.

Marquez is no longer a guaranteed starter in defence for Mexico, but has featured in a holding midfield role for El Tri in some of their recent friendlies.

His inclusion in the squad could be viewed as little more than a token gesture, however, Marquez has over 140 caps for Mexico and will bring unrivalled experience as he appears in his fifth World Cup finals.

John Obi Mikel – Attacking midfielder

John Obi Mikel’s new advanced role will come as a surprise to many

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John Obi Mikel’s new advanced role will come as a surprise to many

John Obi Mikel was a mainstay in the Chelsea team for ten years, cementing the defensive midfield role as his own at Stamford Bridge.

Signed as a long-term replacement to Claude Makelele, Mikel became a stalwart of the Chelsea midfield, often operating as the sole holding midfielder.

Now playing his club football in China with Tianjin TEDA, the Nigeria Captain will feature in an advanced midfield position for the Super Eagles this summer.

With Alex Iwobi expected to play wide, Mikel will be the central spark tasked with feeding Odion Ighalo upfront.

The former Chelsea man will even wear the No10 shirt this summer to validate his new role.

Victor Moses – Left winger/striker

Victor Moses will have less defensive responsibilities on his hands this summer

AFP or licensors
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Victor Moses will have less defensive responsibilities on his hands this summer

Continuing the Nigeria theme, Victor Moses is another player who the Super Eagles clearly think is more effective in a forward position.

In stark contrast to the right wing-back role we have seen him play for Chelsea, Moses is likely to feature in a left-wing position for Nigeria.

The Chelsea man started in that position in Nigeria’s friendly defeat to England at Wembley.

Moses also featured as a second striker in a 3-5-2 formation alongside Ighalo in the Super Eagles final friendly before the World Cup, against Czech Republic.

Isco – False nine

Isco will be making defenders look silly in Russia this summer

EPA
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Isco will be making defenders look silly in Russia this summer

Isco flourished in the false-nine role during Spain’s 3-0 victory over Italy in a World Cup Qualifier last year.

The Real Madrid man scored two goals on the night in his new position and didn’t look out of place at all.

The impressive performance of Isco would have stuck in the memory of Spain Manager Julen Lopetegui, giving him a different attacking option this summer.

If Diego Costa struggles to adapt to Spain’s style of play and the tournament inexperience of Iago Aspas begins to show, Isco could find himself as the most advanced man for Spain.

More subplots… this has just whetted our appetite for the World Cup even more!


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