Have you ever played a game and struggled to find players for a specific position? Try retraining them instead. A common issue I have faced is finding the right player for my system. There are hundreds of guides out there that spell out the best attributes you need for specific positions. And, once we factor in all the necessary attributes, then it becomes very challenging to find them. So what do we do?
There have been many successful examples of players who have been retrained. Let’s take Jordi Alba for example. He started initially as a left winger. Blessed with exceptional pace and with his marauding style he was turned into a fullback. Another example Rio Ferdinand, his technical abilities on the ball convinced coaches that he would make an exceptional ball playing defender.
We can do the same thing in today’s game. If you’re faced with a selection dilemma, you can always play someone out of position. As long as he has the right attributes for the position, just re-train him. Over time he will surprise you. A favourite strategy of mine is to look for players between the ages of 18-21 who are exceptionally good at something and retraining them. Let’s take this example.
Sergio Zuniga was discovered by my scouts, they rated him highly as a defensive midfielder with bags of potential as a playmaker. I however saw the potential of turning him into a play-making fullback who could launch defence splitting passes from the back. The moment we signed him up we started retraining him as an Inverted Wing Back.
To get the best of your player, all you need to do is decide how you want him to play within your system and begin choosing the right training program for him. So we chose the Inverted Wing Back training program because it will work on the attributes that will help him play in that position. These include, decisions and work rate.
The second step you need to take is to ensure you play him in that position. Regardless of whether you want to play him as an Inverted Wing back or a Full Back, you need to play him in that fullback slot in your tactical system. So we started playing him as a Fullback in some matches and in other matches he played as an Inverted Wingback. It took him 6 months to become a natural in his position.
Sergio has already won 2 Young Player of the Month awards with average performances of 7.4 playing within a 442 system that suits him. We couldn’t find good players who were solid and cheap but went around that limitation by finding defensive midfielders who could be retrained and will look forward to doing something different with our fullback on the left. We’re now looking for a marauding winger. So the next time you are struggling to fit the right player into your system think of retraining.