This is an extension of my previous article about getting the most out of a player on the training ground. That time I talked about Leon Goretzka, and my goal of turning him into a Libero, based on the skill-set of Sergio Busquets.
This time my approach is different. I don’t have a young player I want to mould into my ideal player, instead I have a player reaching his peak as a footballer who’s future at my club depends on his ability to fulfil a new role in the team. This will be an exercise in patience and analysis, and will ultimately reveal the adaptability of Kevin-Prince Boateng.
I am currently having a little problem on the right side of my team, I play with wing-backs and I have a very good Christian Fuchs and able deputy Ivan Obradovic on the left side. On the right side I have Seamus Coleman (a player who is rapidly developing into one of the best right sided players in the EPL at Everton in real life) and Christian Clemens, a retrained right winger. The problem is Clemens, who seems to be fairly injury prone and spends a lot of time in the physio. Coleman, while having one of the best engines in the game, cannot play every match in a 60 game season, and I need another wing-back to rotate with the Irishman. Up steps KP Boateng, currently held out of my starting XI by the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Julian Draxler and Xabi Alonso and held out of my regular rotations by wonderkid Max Meyer and evergreen veteran Darren Fletcher. I’d love to play KP (I am a big fan in real life) but he just doesn’t seem to fit. He isn’t attacking enough to be a real weapon up front, no defensive enough to be a holder in midfield.
My current predicament presents a real opportunity for him to become a feature of my squad once more. He has a great engine and is physically very good. A decent work ethic and determined as he is, I don’t think he will appear out of place rampaging up the right edge. He can dribble, cross, mark and tackle, all with competence. In short, he already has great stats for the position I intend to use him. It will come down to how quickly he can become familiar with the role, and whether he has the adaptability to add another position to his repertoire.
To begin with the transition I have simply asked him to learn the new position in training, along with switching his individual training to the new role of wing-back. I also moved his training intensity for the role down to light to allow a greater focus on learning the new position. I am not expecting much in the way of attribute progression, he is 26 after all, so it is more important he become familiar with the role tactically.
This will be a long process, I’d imagine that in a best case scenario he will be comfortable in 6-8 months, and natural in 18, but I’m prepared for a longer wait than that.
I’ll keep you all up to date with his progression and results, starting with his first match in the position, against AS Monaco in the UCL group stages as we attempt to close out 1st position in our group, Coleman is suspended and Clemens is injured, so I’m left with little choice but to chuck him in the deep end.
Has anyone else tried retraining a player near his peak? Leave a comment with your experiences!