What would former stars in legacy positions look like in modern top teams?

B20

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The deeper lying forward position is basically stone dead in modern football. Guys like Dalglish, Cantona, Baggio, Del Piero, Bergkamp, Totti, would all have to find a new position in modern football. Totti was the only one who actually got a taste of it as an early pioneer of the 'false 9' position.

I think it would have been very interesting to see what someone like Del Piero would look like in pep's city team as the central striker.

Think he would wreak havoc in such a setup. I've no idea what guys like Cantona or Baggio would be like. I reckon they'd simply not be as good, the same way I reckon Dybala would probably be better in a former era.

One player that I'd love to see in modern football is Ruud Gullit. There's not been a player with the same combination of physical and technical attributes since imo, and with the intensity of the modern game I reckon he'd be an even better player. No idea where he'd play though and in what role. Probably on the wing, although he'd be a sight in a role to similar to what de bruyne has as the ball carrying attacking midfielder in a three.
 

Ish

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Modern football would find a way to accommodate those players because they’re excellent IMO. Cantona could play in a Bruno type role behind the striker or even at the tip of a diamond in a 4-4-2 if he’s partnered with a complimentary 3 in midfield IMO. Hell, even as part of the 2 in a 4-4-2.
 

r3idy

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Probably one of the greatest of the last generation would be Paolo Maldini. The guy was utter velvet in the context of football late 80's and 90's. Not a dirty player or a hard player but just an extremely graceful defender who was so hard to beat 1 on 1. Moreover the timing of his defending was an utter joy. As soon as you thought a guy had beat him he managed to get a fantastic recovery tackle in. With the pace of the modern game and VAR, makes you wonder if he would have excelled as much.
 

stefan92

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Probably one of the greatest of the last generation would be Paolo Maldini. The guy was utter velvet in the context of football late 80's and 90's. Not a dirty player or a hard player but just an extremely graceful defender who was so hard to beat 1 on 1. Moreover the timing of his defending was an utter joy. As soon as you thought a guy had beat him he managed to get a fantastic recovery tackle in. With the pace of the modern game and VAR, makes you wonder if he would have excelled as much.
VAR would not be a problem for Maldini because as you said he was not a dirty player, his tackles were on point and playing the ball. Pace is a different story, I am not so sure how he would look against extremely fast wide forwards just running at/around him.
 

meamth

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Depending on the team,

Michael Owen would be great in Leicester setup, but will suffer terribly in Manchester City.
Beckham would be relegated to WB role.
Deep lying playmakers, in general will be hard to perform nowadays. The pressing is way way faster now.
 

SambaBoy

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VAR would not be a problem for Maldini because as you said he was not a dirty player, his tackles were on point and playing the ball. Pace is a different story, I am not so sure how he would look against extremely fast wide forwards just running at/around him.
I remember Kanchelskis running him ragged in first half of the Euros/WC v Italy. 2nd half, just completely shut him down.
 

harms

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VAR would not be a problem for Maldini because as you said he was not a dirty player, his tackles were on point and playing the ball. Pace is a different story, I am not so sure how he would look against extremely fast wide forwards just running at/around him.
It’s not like he faced tons of extremely fast players during his actual career, right?


Think he would wreak havoc in such a setup. I've no idea what guys like Cantona or Baggio would be like. I reckon they'd simply not be as good, the same way I reckon Dybala would probably be better in a former era.
Here’s an opinion about Baggio from a modern manager (I’ll let you guess the name)
In my team, he would certainly be a False 9. He wouldn’t have to run too much, but on the other hand he’d have 500 touches per game and score 50 goals per season
Dalglish would be an instant and brilliant upgrade on Firmino.

Cantona & Bergkamp are the only one who I have some reservations on, but even then United plays with a dedicated number 10 and they’d fit right in. Bergkamp would be probably used as a false 9 in a role more resembling his Ajax days.
 

nokillingmoths

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Depending on the team,

Michael Owen would be great in Leicester setup, but will suffer terribly in Manchester City.
Beckham would be relegated to WB role.
Deep lying playmakers, in general will be hard to perform nowadays. The pressing is way way faster now.
Beckham could play acm or cm in modern football. Either the middle of a 3 in a 4231 or as one of the 3 in modfield in a 433. his workrate, vision, passing and shooting would see him excel.
 

RedRonaldo

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I thought Beckham would great if he plays in 3 man midfield - great pass, good workrate, good shot, sublime crossing and intelligent. His lack of quick pace and dribbling skills in the wing would be less required if he plays in more center role. Hence he would become even better player in this era.

Owen surely couldn’t play no.9 role on his own, but since he got the pace maybe he could try his luck as wing forward? Similar to what Greenwood is doing at the moment, cut in and shoot type of wing forward.

I always wonder how would Beckenbauer play as modern CB. Maybe in 532? Or would he plays as deep lying midfield playmaking instead?

Agree with Cantona/Baggio/Bergkamp/Di Piero/Totti, no idea how would they play in modern setup

George Besf or Cruyff would fit perfectly on wing forward role. Maradona though? Similar as Messi in wing forward playmaker role I guess. He is explosive, with great dribbling and passing, sure he could fit in perfectly.
 
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meamth

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Early United Roy Keane I can see it.

With more of a goal threat.
I think Roy Keane is ahead of its time in terms of midfield archetype.

One of the first all action box to box midfielder. He will excel in the modern game.
 

Gio

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The deeper lying forward position is basically stone dead in modern football. Guys like Dalglish, Cantona, Baggio, Del Piero, Bergkamp, Totti, would all have to find a new position in modern football. Totti was the only one who actually got a taste of it as an early pioneer of the 'false 9' position.

I think it would have been very interesting to see what someone like Del Piero would look like in pep's city team as the central striker.

Think he would wreak havoc in such a setup. I've no idea what guys like Cantona or Baggio would be like. I reckon they'd simply not be as good, the same way I reckon Dybala would probably be better in a former era.

One player that I'd love to see in modern football is Ruud Gullit. There's not been a player with the same combination of physical and technical attributes since imo, and with the intensity of the modern game I reckon he'd be an even better player. No idea where he'd play though and in what role. Probably on the wing, although he'd be a sight in a role to similar to what de bruyne has as the ball carrying attacking midfielder in a three.
Most of these guys would drop into the CF / false 9 position of a front three. And if it's a two they'd just play off a strike partner as they did in their hey-day. It would be easy for the stronger technical guys like Dalglish and Cantona.

Bergkamp led the line quite often for Ajax and Holland in the first part of his career, usually in a 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 set-up that is basically how many teams play today. He had a nasty side to his game that enabled him to hold his own against physical centre-halves.

Del Piero would probably just assume the left-forward role he had for Juve's front three and then as their solitary provider of width in a front two. To be honest I'm not sure if his hold-up play was consistent enough to be fully effective in the centre of a 3-man attack.

Depending on the team,

Michael Owen would be great in Leicester setup, but will suffer terribly in Manchester City.
Beckham would be relegated to WB role.
Deep lying playmakers, in general will be hard to perform nowadays. The pressing is way way faster now.
Good point about the type of team dictating who would fit best where.

Although Owen would be a great Vardy replacement, for City I think he'd be like a better version of Jesus. Not great with his back-to-goal play, but sharp around the box. His pace would be such a target for the elite passers in the City team to find - aside from Gerrard and McCallister he never really had that in his career. He'd offer many of the same threats as Sterling in getting to the bye-line and cutting it back. But a sometimes forgotten aspect of Owen's game was his threat from crosses - strong in the air for a wee man and well versed in gambling on loose balls in the penalty box. City could offer him a lot of service that he would relish in my view.
 
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Football is all about fitness, work rate, pace & power nowadays. A lot of those players you listed would have to adapt their game to the point where they’d be unrecognisable to the players we knew if they played now.

They’d probably all be Ozil types. Cast off as “lazy”
 

meamth

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Football is all about fitness, work rate, pace & power nowadays. A lot of those players you listed would have to adapt their game to the point where they’d be unrecognisable to the players we knew if they played now.

They’d probably all be Ozil types. Cast off as “lazy”
I share the same view.

Nowadays high work rate is the golden standard.
 

amolbhatia50k

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Well if those legends arrived on the scene now they would be coached into suiting positions that exist today and not legacy positions.
 

JPRouve

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Aren't all the attacking players mentioned suited to the way Bayern play? Also the likes of Ancelotti, Allegri and Pochettino would have no issue using them in their 4231, instead of the likes of Dybala, Rodriguez or Alli.
 

largelyworried

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We live in an era of such tactical flexibility that teams would easily accommodate different styles of players (assuming they were good enough to make it worth trying). When even mid-table teams can switch between 2 or 3 different formations in a single game, the idea that a player it would be difficult to accommodate a 2 striker formation is not really something I can get on board with.

On the other hand I think sending modern players in the time machine back to the mid-90s would be much harder for them. We have lots of attacking forwards these days who are neither strikers nor wingers (Salah, Rashford, Sterling, etc) and 30 years ago would have been expected to be one or the other.
 

bosnian_red

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Great players would be great in any era. The teams adapt around them. Just like Ibrahimovic has been great for 20 years. The problem is when certain players fail and people equate it to that style not being "in" anymore, when in reality that player just wasn't as good as previous. Just like Sir Alex's 4-4-2 would work just fine, Giggs would still be a brilliant left winger, Beckham would still be a world class player on the right, etc.

Cantona would still be a world class forward. It's crazy to pretend otherwise. Some clubs play with more all round strikers who link up a lot more, some with a partnership, some with a pure #9 who plays alone. There's room for any great player.
 

bosnian_red

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Football is all about fitness, work rate, pace & power nowadays. A lot of those players you listed would have to adapt their game to the point where they’d be unrecognisable to the players we knew if they played now.

They’d probably all be Ozil types. Cast off as “lazy”
Ozil was a brilliant player until he declined. Maybe laziness played its part. But he was still a great player for club and country in this age and then declined like all players eventually do.

All about pace and power? Guess nobody told David Silva, Xavi or Iniesta. Great players would be great in any Era. Thats it. We need to stop pretending like the current Era is always the best Era, as it's a load of horseshit.
 

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Ozil was a brilliant player until he declined. Maybe laziness played its part. But he was still a great player for club and country in this age and then declined like all players eventually do.
But Özil was heavily criticized as lazy throughout his whole career, not only when he declined. So I think it's possible to assume that some of the mentioned players could have behaved similarly as Özil is seen (which I don't think is fair to him, but that's another difficult discussion) - not doing much work defensively etc.
 

TheReligion

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Surely it's odd calling the character of some of our footballing greats into question and suggesting they'd become lazy playing in the modern era?

What's sets these players apart from the likes of Ozil is their character, mental strength and desire to win.

That wouldn't change. They'd adapt.
 

sun_tzu

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Kancheslkis would have smashed it as a wide forward
Beckham would probably have got to play central (bit like KDB) and i think that would have suited him as well

....................Keane...............
.......Beckham.......Scholes...
Kanckelskis...Cantona....Giggs
 

11101

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VAR would not be a problem for Maldini because as you said he was not a dirty player, his tackles were on point and playing the ball. Pace is a different story, I am not so sure how he would look against extremely fast wide forwards just running at/around him.
Maldini was pretty rapid himself in his earlier years. Add to that he barely ever tackled anybody because his positioning and reading of the game was so good, i think he would be fine.


The ones i wonder about most would be the midfielders. Back then they were all rounders and I wonder if the increased pace of the game would make that an impossible task. Roy Keane could not be the creator, tackler and everything else in between, he would need to specialise. Would he be as effective?
 

TheReligion

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Maldini was pretty rapid himself in his earlier years. Add to that he barely ever tackled anybody because his positioning and reading of the game was so good, i think he would be fine.


The ones i wonder about most would be the midfielders. Back then they were all rounders and I wonder if the increased pace of the game would make that an impossible task. Roy Keane could not be the creator, tackler and everything else in between, he would need to specialise. Would he be as effective?
I don't think Keane was ever the creator as such?

He was box to box and a very underrated passer of the ball but his main role was never that.

He'd excel in the modern game.
 

Green_Red

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Cafu would 100% fit a modern team. In fact his approach to the game probably influenced the concept of the modern wing back. Beast of a player.

Irwin too, no adaptation required, would slot right into any team today.

Although I'm not sure they fit the definition of legacy positions.
 

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Baggio in 2010s = Ribery

Just saying. Not a difficult player to imagine how he'd play now...
 

11101

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I don't think Keane was ever the creator as such?

He was box to box and a very underrated passer of the ball but his main role was never that.

He'd excel in the modern game.
What i mean is he could do it all.

Keane was so good because he could it all but he was never the best at any one thing. There aren't really box to box midfielders anymore, the modern game doesn't suit it, so would he be as good if forced to specialise in one area. Not just Keane but any of the all rounders of the 80s and 90s.
 

UnrelatedPsuedo

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How people think Cantona would struggle is beyond me.

He was as much a 9 as a 10. Kane now pretty much plays as Eric did for United and he scores a boatload. He was strong, deceptively quick, good in the air, had a ridiculous first touch and had two good feet. He’d score loads as a pure 9, a false 9 or a 10.
 

Zlatattack

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Depending on the team,

Michael Owen would be great in Leicester setup, but will suffer terribly in Manchester City.
Beckham would be relegated to WB role.
Deep lying playmakers, in general will be hard to perform nowadays. The pressing is way way faster now.
That's ridiculous. Did you watch him play? Becks could be a deep lying playmaker, he could play in a midfield 3, he could even play wide right. He had such a passing range and a great eye for goal. He got good numbers in an era where the wideman was just expected to cross.
 

Zlatattack

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Probably one of the greatest of the last generation would be Paolo Maldini. The guy was utter velvet in the context of football late 80's and 90's. Not a dirty player or a hard player but just an extremely graceful defender who was so hard to beat 1 on 1. Moreover the timing of his defending was an utter joy. As soon as you thought a guy had beat him he managed to get a fantastic recovery tackle in. With the pace of the modern game and VAR, makes you wonder if he would have excelled as much.
He pocketed players when the best of the best were playing in Serie A. If he could manage Ronaldo, i'm sure he'd be alright against Rashford and Sterling.
 

stefan92

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What i mean is he could do it all.

Keane was so good because he could it all but he was never the best at any one thing. There aren't really box to box midfielders anymore, the modern game doesn't suit it, so would he be as good if forced to specialise in one area. Not just Keane but any of the all rounders of the 80s and 90s.
I'm sure he could play a similar role like Kanté.
 

harms

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Football is all about fitness, work rate, pace & power nowadays. A lot of those players you listed would have to adapt their game to the point where they’d be unrecognisable to the players we knew if they played now.

They’d probably all be Ozil types. Cast off as “lazy”
Yeah, it’s not like the best player of our era hasn’t made a tackle (I’m slightly exaggerating here) in 5 years.