Player transformations

Walters_19_MuFc

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What about Sterling, in the same way the OP mentioned Ronaldo's transformation, in that he started off as a tricky winger? Whilst he doesn't play as a striker as such, he has transformed into a goalscorer. A lot of his goals are tap ins, which goes to show how much his game has developed, regards his intelligent movement.
 

edcunited1878

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Don't really agree. Ofcourse there is an extent in which he just got a lot better in what he already did and his goal instincts improved over the years.. But one of the key factors for me where he really changed into another player is that in his early years he was always getting the ball, wanting it in his feet, create something by passing opponnents, dribbles, etc. In later years he really became an off-the-ball player, making runts wihout the ball in front of the goal, staying up top during build up of play, lurking on the right place for tap ins..
He was making those off ball runs in open play, runs into the box, and poaching goals when he played in a more free and interchangeable role his last couple of years at United. He would just stay central and be the focal point. Why do you think Rooney sacrificed himself playing out wide...to accommodate Ronaldo. But again, they interchanged really well, in addition to Tevez. Even with Berbatov, Ronaldo was able to play more centrally or make space in the box knowing he had players who could supply him with service. You don't score 42 goals as a forward in an English campaign and CL if you dont do what you just described.
 

padr81

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Goretzka's tranformation from skinny midfielder to Adama Traore was pretty impressive
 

GL21

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Goretzka's tranformation from skinny midfielder to Adama Traore was pretty impressive
And traore to the hulk was fairly impressive
 

mono-math

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Really? That's shocking. I thought he'd be in China or the Middle East by now.
Yeah, that's exactly what you would expect; the Vladimír Weiss route. Can only guess Taarabt did a lot of growing up and had an epiphany moment.

Lots of mentions of wingers transitioning into forwards or full backs in this thread, but I think both are fairly common.

The Giggs/Barnes move into central areas is maybe more common than one might expect, too. For wingers with good close control and passing, I think it's natural to move inside as they lose their pace. I can see Di Maria doing the same thing as he gets older. Arguably, his best season for Madrid was in the middle 3 of a 433. Ze Roberto is another who played wide but moved centrally. Also played a fair bit at full back. Absolute class player.

Shout out to the players whose entire success is down to a serendipitous change of position; Kevin Phillips played full back for non league Baldock Town until he was 21. Only moved up front because of an injury crisis. Within a few years he finished top scorer for Sunderland in the premier league.
Northern Ireland international Josh Magennis is another. He signed for Cardiff City as a goalkeeper and sat on the bench as a 17 year old goalkeeper in a league cup game against Liverpool. Changed position to striker aged 18 and now has 63 caps for Northern Ireland.
 
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Cascarino

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Adel Taarabt's transformation from a flamboyant, workshy attacking player to defensive midfielder at Benfica is remarkable. Can't make sense of it. Must have had a personality transplant.
I'd heard about him becoming a defensive midfielder but it was interesting to read the process behind it. He's always been incredibly talented, with his qualities he should have had a better career. On paper, I can actually see why he'd be suited to this deeper role, he's strong and reads the game well and I assume he's worked on his defensive capabilities, has the technical ability to play out from the back and retain the ball, his dribbling means he could break the press and he has the vision to play the ball forward.

It's just as you said though, I could never have envisioned him becoming that kind of player with his personality. He was often guilty of neglecting all defensive duties, and was tactically ill disciplined. I don't know if you've watched him in the role but it'd be interesting to hear how he approaches the game if you have, or others on here who have watched him.
 

Tragically Hip

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Adel Taarabt's transformation from a flamboyant, workshy attacking player to defensive midfielder at Benfica is remarkable. Can't make sense of it. Must have had a personality transplant.
This has to be the most unbelievable one, as in I'd never believe it without the article. He was such an entertaining player to watch for QPR bc he seemed to give zero fs about the consequences of his creative play. Cool to see he evolved and prolonged his career.
 

Dave Smith

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This has to be the most unbelievable one, as in I'd never believe it without the article. He was such an entertaining player to watch for QPR bc he seemed to give zero fs about the consequences of his creative play. Cool to see he evolved and prolonged his career.
Yeah, I can't imagine AT as a DM.

To be fair there are a quite a few examples of successful players transforming into sweepers. Berne Schuster, Ruud Gullit (although both surprisingly had experience of playing as one in younger days), Zbigniew Boniek (a very surprising move for me)… it made sense when the position had meant that you’re basically a free player and required first and foremost understanding of the game and playmaking skills.

Sammer is probably the only one who had switched mid-career and achieved higher level of performance in that new role.
Wasn't Gullit also a No.10 at one point?
 

Lay

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Does Taarabt play well at Benfica?
 

mono-math

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Greetings from Port Talbot!

I'd heard about him becoming a defensive midfielder but it was interesting to read the process behind it. He's always been incredibly talented, with his qualities he should have had a better career. On paper, I can actually see why he'd be suited to this deeper role, he's strong and reads the game well and I assume he's worked on his defensive capabilities, has the technical ability to play out from the back and retain the ball, his dribbling means he could break the press and he has the vision to play the ball forward.

It's just as you said though, I could never have envisioned him becoming that kind of player with his personality. He was often guilty of neglecting all defensive duties, and was tactically ill disciplined. I don't know if you've watched him in the role but it'd be interesting to hear how he approaches the game if you have, or others on here who have watched him.
Unfortunately not. Reading this thread reminded me of the Guardian article I linked. Hopefully someone who watches the Portuguese league regularly can comment.
 

padr81

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Jesus Navas went from a poor winger, to a trial RB for Pep to an international RB for Spain and made laLiga team of the season.
 

JPRouve

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Jesus Navas went from a poor winger, to a trial RB for Pep to an international RB for Spain and made laLiga team of the season.
He went from a quality winger, one of the best in La Liga and an international player to a RB at the end of his career.
 

harms

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Yeah, I can't imagine AT as a DM.



Wasn't Gullit also a No.10 at one point?
He was usually either a number 10, a right winger or a supporting striker at his peak, but, quite surprisingly (at least to me) he had actually played as a libero at PSV, with Koeman in midfield, before his transfer to AC Milan, scoring 27 & 26 goals in 2 of his last seasons at Eindhoven.


His stint at Chelsea where he had assumed the role of a sweeper is probably a known story.
 

Cascarino

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Greetings from Port Talbot!



Unfortunately not. Reading this thread reminded me of the Guardian article I linked. Hopefully someone who watches the Portuguese league regularly can comment.
I actually drove through Port Talbot today! If you spotted a bad driver in a white Suzuki it was me.

Aye, I’ll probably try and catch a game or two myself, although I think he’s mainly been a sub recently so hopefully I can watch one where he starts
 

BrilliantOrange

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All the talk about Taaraabt in this thread, but I see he only played 5 games this year so far.. Because of an injury? Or was his transformation just a short spell of success?

Van Persie. Not too different from Ronnie's transformation?
You could argue indeed, but I think Ronaldo's tranformation was more significant. Van Persie definitely became more clinical and more of a goalscored than playmaker, but he still remained a player who enjoyed making things happen..

Another less extreme tranformation was Wesley Sneijder, but Im not sure to the extent it was just development vs transformation. At Ajax coming through he was a classical number 10, always wanting the ball, always wanting to create and get involved early on. Especially under Mourinho at Inter (where he had his greatest peak) he became more focused on deciding a game with sheer moments in stead of wanting to domninate a whole game.. He became more patient during a game, staying away from the ball more often, positioning himself not just to get the ball as often as he could, but to get it at the right time to give the key ball through..

It's basically the development/transition Van der Vaart never made.. He stayed a player playing for fun, being the traditional #10 wanting to be the center of every attack and dominating the full game..

Van der Vaar was more fun to watch, but you can argue Sneijder did the things which brought him further to the top..
 

Sandikan

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Lower key, but I'm pretty sure Robbie Savage started off as a bit of a ball playing flair player at Crewe.
But will always be known as a defensive scuffling bit of a negative player.
 

FootballHQ

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Joelinton to centre midfield is something I didnt think i'd ever see.
He was really good wasn't he?

Wasn't it said when they signed him he was much better as an AM but of course Steve Bruce just constantly played him as CF or out wide in the 3.

For all his lack of composure infront of goal he knew tonight when to release the ball in central areas and also tracked back well so ideal performance in that position and seems he's played well in other game since Howe arrived.
 

DWelbz19

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It’s very similar to another good transformation - Moussa Dembele from a forward who can carry the ball but cant score to midfield powerhouse
 

Lay

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Was that a one off performance or he is that good now?
 

ekestubbe

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James Milner has played almost everywhere on the pitch and done it well. I think he played a whole season as left back.
 

Big Poppa

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Surprised nobody has mentioned Bukayo Saka. He has played defence, midfield and attack all with equally impressive impact.
 

cesc's_mullet

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I think so. When he played on the left for Monaco and especially for Juventus, it wasn't really the modern interpretation of a wide forward who attacks the box a lot. And when he did play in a forward role it was more of a roaming second striker, rather than the line leader he became under Wenger. As he was always a natural provider, it was quite a shift required in his mentality to then occupy the centre-halves and become a heavy-duty goalscorer.
Played as a LWB whilst at Juve. From winger, to LWB, to all-time legend Striker.
 

BrilliantOrange

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Surprised nobody has mentioned Bukayo Saka. He has played defence, midfield and attack all with equally impressive impact.
Thats not really a player transformation right.. He is just a very very versatile player with obviously a lot of football intelligence to be able to play so many positions.. But its not like he has undergone some kind of transformation
 

yumtum

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Eden Hazard, from one of the best players in the EPL for years to a donkey in La Liga
 

Big Poppa

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Thats not really a player transformation right.. He is just a very very versatile player with obviously a lot of football intelligence to be able to play so many positions.. But its not like he has undergone some kind of transformation
It's not as though he was chopping and changing position every week though.

He used to start every match for us at left back when Kolasinac and Tierney were both injured, and he got an England call up in that position but once he was thrown into RW, he relegated Pepe to the bench and hasn't looked back.