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"We Have Players Here Who Can Play Various Roles Due To Their Footballing Education"

4 January 2022

Boss says versatile players are invaluable when injury or illness strikes

Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell says that the versatility of the Academy players in his squad gives him options to fill positions if necessary. Crewe are currently without left-backs, Rio Adebisi and Callum McFazdean due to injury, but Callum Ainley has already shown that he has the ability to play yet another role in the team and youngster Zac Williams or Luke Offord also have experience of playing there having come through the ranks at the club.

Talking ahead of tonight’s Papa John’s Trophy tie against favourites to lift the trophy, Rotherham United, the Alex boss told us: “With everything that is going on in the world, it is important to have those players who can play in various positions if necessary.

“We have a number of versatile players who can swap positions if needs be, because they have come through the Academy here and been exposed to different positions.

“We try not to pigeon hole our players when they are youngsters. There may be cases when someone is definitely going to be a centre-half or a centre forward, but we try to expose them to playing different positions.

“If you play a lot of roles in the team then you have more of an opportunity to play a lot of games. You only have to look at James Milner at Liverpool and what he is worth to them. He is a utility player for one of the best teams in Europe and still plays a lot of football for them.

“If you then master the positions then you become invaluable to a manager because he knows he can rely on you if you need to change things. We have a number here who can do that. Callum is an obvious one. Luke Offord played holding midfielder and as a right-back, as well as centre-half.

“Zac has played as a winger, full-back, holding midfielder, a number 10, as well as a centre-half, and that has only helped his whole area of development coming through.

“It is just invaluable for a club of our size and resources to have that.”

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