BergkampFlick's blog

A blog following in Dennis' footsteps. Ajax, Arsenal and Dutch football

Utility, Futility?


Today ‘s blog is about a subject that I’ve been keen on writing about for a while. I’m fascinated by tactics, formations and player roles. Classic roles like the libero, regista, trequartista and players who perform these parts on the grand stage of association football are of great interest to me. I’m especially interested in players who are able to play multiple positions, even more so when aforementioned positions range from defence and midfield all the way to attack.

For example: John O’shea played in all positions for Manchester United. For me, that’s an absolutely stunning little fact. Some players barely manage to perform the role they’re specialised in, let alone one they have never played. I greatly admire utility men, for they have the footballistic intelligence to adapt. Nowadays the term ‘utility player’ is often used for a player who is a bit shit in a variety of positions. Because that’s the seam side: if you don’t stick to one position, you’re unlikely to specialise and become a, for example, master in the art of defence like our very own Tony Adams.

Last week I read an interview with Urby Emanuelson in which he said that he’s disappointed not to have played more games for AC Milan. Understandably, because the Dutchman’s last appearance for I Rossoneri was when they beat Chievo 5-1 back in November. He scored once and assisted twice from right wing; two months later he signed for Fulham on loan.

Emanuelson vs Chievo Verona

Emanuelson vs Chievo Verona


So why didn’t he feature more often for the 7-time European champions? Is it merely a matter of quality? I believe it isn’t, because Emanuelson is a good player and the red and blacks of Milano hadn’t been at their best. For me, the main reason why the former Ajax player was deprived of match-fitness is his ability to play in a lot of positions instead of specialising in just one or two. He is the perfect example of a utility-man-turned-benchwarmer.

Well, that was a long run-up. To be honest I lied a bit about my subject. My actual topic is Aaron Ramsey. I love Arsenal’s young Welshman and have tremendous faith in his ability. However, I fear that Aaron might be heading for a Emanuelsonesque career. Unless it’s another example of Arsène’s way of preparing a player to perform their eventual role, I believe playing right back, right wing, left wing, attacking midfielder, box-to-box midfielder and holding midfielder over the course of a season has a negative influence on Ramsey’s development. For a player of his age, gaining experience in your position is, as far as I’m concerned, of vital importance.

The one and only

The one and only


I think Aaron will eventually be a box-to-box midfielder. He is a quite pacy, and his great engine and passing ability would make him perfect for the aforementioned role. You could argue that it’d be good for a dynamic, all-round midfielder to get to know the entire pitch, but is this the way to go about it? Is it beneficial for a young player who has just found form to have to play right wing one game, and central midfielder AND right back the next?

Personally, I’m torn between yay and nay. That’s why I’d like to know what YOU think. What do you think Ramsey’s best position is? Will playing all over the pitch benefit his game? Please leave a comment below or tweet me

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2 reacties op “Utility, Futility?

  1. amcnerd
    9 maart 2013
  2. Pingback: For he will be Viktorious | BergkampFlick's blog

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