Date: 19th March 2019 at 9:03am
Written by:

OPINION

Sometimes you look at a footballer and just think ‘you missed your calling in life’ – and that could well be the case at Newcastle United.

Deandre Yedlin, for example, is almost certainly not meant to be a full-back. The US international is incredibly quick, and very forward thinking, but his sense of defensive positioning is worrying, and watching him sometimes you wonder how he has managed to make a career in the back line at the highest level.

This is a fact that his new national team coach, Gregg Berhalter, has seemingly recognised.

Berhalter told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he plans to use the 25-year-old as an out and out winger.

He said “He’s not going to be in the back. He’s going to be forward at the top of the penalty box or he’s going to be combining in wide areas. And that’s right in his skill set.

“We’re not going to ask him to do things he’s not comfortable with. We’ll adapt to him to a certain extent. I’m watching all of his games and what I see with him is a tremendous ability to build momentum from behind with his speed to take advantage of underlaps or interlap situations. He has a good cross.”

This is, on the face of it, a great idea, and one that Rafa Benitez should really take note of.

Yedlin is blessed with all the attributes needed to become a real threat on the front foot, and should the Newcastle manager take his lead from this international shake up, he could really unlock the potential of a much maligned player.

The Magpies are starting to look like a side making real progress in the Premier League, but they could add a new weapon to their arsenal by letting the American become the player he is clearly meant to be.

There are few, if any, players in the league who could match the full-back for sheer pace, and there wouldn’t be many defenders who would fancy their chances against him when he gets up to full speed.

Add to that is knack for a devilish delivery, and really, it just makes sense to unshackle the defender.