So far this season it has been shown that not only do we have a great backup option in each position, but we also have a very versatile team.
Lee Johnson looks for that versatility in certain players, and the multi-functionality of some of the team’s values will be key this year.
A total revelation this season. He’s a midfielder with many different talents, and has improvised well to fit in on the right-hand side. He’s not only good at getting forward, but also when defending our goal. Right now, we cannot ask him to move from his current role because of how well he’s playing, but still, he gives us a good option in midfield.
Having Marcelo Bielsa as manager helped him to be the player he is today - he’s capable of playing on both sides of the defence, in the centre of midfield, and on either wing - he’s incredibly versatile. Playing with his wrong foot on Tuesday night more often than he usually would did not prevent him from having a great game - he’s taken his chance well.
He’s a real warrior - he’s been a mainstay in the side over several seasons, and with good reason, mainly because he is willing to do anything for his team and his teammates. It doesn’t detract from his performance wherever he plays - and I feel that’s a huge compliment to him as both a player and a man. Whether it’s playing as a defender, defensive midfielder, offensive midfielder, at full-back or even up top, he will do his best. I have no doubt that Lee Johnson is looking for more players just like him: who can perform in various positions while maintaining a good level.
Dan Neil is an entirely different prospect to the rest. He was trained in the academy as an attacking midfielder, but as part of Lee Johnson’s squad, he’s being made into a player capable of operating in multiple positions across the field. In addition to his job as an attacking midfielder, he added to his skillset - proving he’s adept as both a left-back and a defensive midfielder.
A pleasant surprise for everyone. One of the few forwards on the squad, Broadhead can move around the front line without problems - he’s capable of playing on either flank, as the man leading the line and as the second striker. He occupies space on the flanks when the team needs him, assists and has a hand in creating goals, and consistently gets into good positions.
The fundamental change for this season, in my opinion, is this - not only having two players per position, but being able to count on them to do a good job when asked to move around, which perhaps is something that many of them have never really been asked to do in their careers before coming to Sunderland this season.