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Six British footballers that have converted positions

| 01.04.2015

Usually, when a footballer has graduated from a youth academy in football, they stick to the position that they have spent years trying to perfect. But, every now and then, you get the odd player that decides that they want to switch roles.

Everton and England rising star Ross Barkley recently stated that he would prefer to be used as a number 10, rather than his usual box-to-box midfield position.

“[My best position is] behind a striker,” he said. “I feel I can have my greatest impact there because I’m free to roam around the pitch, take players on, have shots and create chances.”

So, following Barkley’s potential switch in positions, Coral football writers come up with six other British names that have also converted to a different role during their careers.

Gareth Bale
Wales superstar Bale earned a world record transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid (10/3 to win La Liga), but made his name as a promising set-piece specialist left back at Southampton and then Tottenham.

His former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, claimed in his autobiography that “I had always felt there was more to Gareth than left back, or even left wing.” That is despite saying a couple years earlier: “Bale plays now more advanced and is finding great continuity in that role. But I am sure he will become a great left back.”

John Charles
Another Welshman makes this list, and former Leeds United and Juventus’ Charles is perhaps the greatest ever all-round player in the history of the game.

Due to his physical presence, ‘the Gentle Giant’ was feared both as a prolific striker and solid defender from the 1940s to the 60s.

Dion Dublin
Dublin also switched from being a defender to an attacker, and started his career as a centre back for Norwich City before being a striker for the likes of Cambridge United, Manchester United, Coventry City and Aston Villa. He later reverted back to his original position.

Wayne Rooney
Rooney will almost certainly end his career as England and Man Utd’s leading scorer in history, but since signing for the latter has slowly moved further and further back the field.

The Three Lions and Red Devils skipper has even been used as a deep-lying midfielder this season for his club, during Michael Carrick’s absence.

Here is a clip of Rooney showing off his passing skills from further back…

Paul Scholes
Like Rooney, Scholes began his career as a tenacious forward and even played on the left wing for England (2/1 to win all their remaining Group E qualifiers) at times, but progressed to being a midfield playmaker and the heartbeat of Man Utd.

Watch this compilation of Scholes at his majestic best…

Alan Smith
Smith not only converted position positions in his career, but also allegiances as he crossed over the Pennines from Leeds to bitter rivals Man Utd.

The former England international began his career as a striker, but was converted by Sir Alex Ferguson to a tough-tackling midfielder. He now represents Notts County, who are 11/10 to get relegated form League One this season.



Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.