Footballers Who Used To Play In a Different Position At Youth Level

Do you know there are footballers who changed position after youth level? Ever wondered if some of your favorite football players would be able to cope in positions that are totally unrelated to their current position? 

Well, you’d be surprised to hear that many of them would comfortably play in totally unrelated positions. That’s because they may have played in those positions earlier in their career, but switched later on.

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Today we’ll be talking about some footballers who changed position after youth level

1. Bruno Fernandes

Footballers who changed position after youth level

Bruno may be one of the most productive and dangerous midfielders in football at the moment, so you’d probably find it hard to believe he used to play as a defender. And if you think he was an attacking fullback, you couldn’t be more wrong. Because he was actually a center-back, and turns out he was pretty good at it as well. Of course, over time he got tried out higher up the pitch, first as a striker, before settling finally in midfield.

2. Casemiro

Casemiro also used to play an entirely different role as a youth. In his early footballing days at the Sao Paolo academy, Casemiro was being played as a center forward. But well, all of that changed one day during a training session. You see, it was some sort of trial situation, and there weren’t enough people to play in central midfield. So, he offered to play in that position, and it kinda stuck since then.

3. David De Gea

De Gea used to play as a striker, even until the age of 14. Now, perhaps this explains why he was so good at making saves from strikers. But it also makes it so surprising that despite playing that long as a striker, he still isn’t so good with his feet.

4. Mohammed Salah

Mohammed Salah is one of the best players with the ball at his feet. But did you know that Salah wasn’t always played as an attacking player?

 He started out as a fullback. But as you probably suspect, he was one of those fullbacks who loved to get involved in attack. In fact, he loved attacking so much that one day when his youth team won a game 4-0, he was so sad that he started crying because he wasn’t among the goalscorers. And this sad reaction pretty much convinced his coach to change his position.

5. Virgil Van Dijk

Virgil Van Dijk started out as a striker, which was mostly because of his height. And well, he was mostly used as an impact sub who’d be brought in late in the game to help his team get goals. He played this role even until the age of 19 before he was eventually converted to a center-back.

6. Firmino

If Firmino hadn’t converted to an attacking player, perhaps he just may have been Van Dijk’s partner at center-back.

Roberto Firmino started out as a center-back when he was much younger. And well, let’s just say that despite playing as a center-back, he always loved to support the attack. Matter of fact, in one game, he ended up dribbling most of his opponents and bursting forward. This made his coaches play him in more attacking positions, initially on the wings, and then as an attacking midfielder. 

7. Fernando Torres

Another Ex-Liverpool Attacker whose role changed was Fernando Torres. Now, in his prime at Liverpool, Torres was arguably one of the biggest nightmares of Premier League goalkeepers. But what you may not know is that many years ago, he used to play as a goalkeeper himself. The only reason he changed positions was because his mum forced him to do so after he broke his tooth while making a save. Well, guess it’s a good thing she did that.

8. Harry Kane

Another player who was a nightmare to Premier League goalkeepers is Harry Kane. And guess what? He also didn’t start as a striker, but rather, as a midfielder. 

He was initially a defensive midfielder at the Tottenham academy, then he was moved higher to attacking midfield, before settling as a striker. Well, with that amount of experience as a midfielder, guess it now makes sense why he’s one of the more creative strikes around. 

9. Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois he didn’t start out as a goalkeeper. He began his football youth career as a left-back and played in that position until 1999 when he moved to Genk. And well, he has gone on to become one of the best in that position.

10. Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon was also one of the best in the goalkeeping position. And just like Courtois, he didn’t start out as a goalkeeper either. In his case, he was a midfielder as a youngster. But well, he was a guy who loved to try out different positions. At some point, he chose to try out goalkeeping, and it’s safe to say he fell in love with that position. He would then go on to play for Juventus for many years and become their legend.

12. Carles Puyol

 Carles Puyol spent many years at Barcelona and became a legend. And now he’s considered one of their best-ever center-backs. And well, just like you already suspect, he wasn’t always a center-back but was a goalkeeper initially. Of course, he sustained an injury, which made him try out other positions like the center forward, midfield, and right back, before eventually settling at centre back. 

13. Pep Guardiola

You probably know Pep Guardiola was once a footballer as well, and he played as a midfielder for Barcelona. But before that, he was a right winger for the youth team. What’s even more interesting is that it was the legendary Johan Cruyff who suggested that he be moved to midfield. And boy, that move definitely paid off. 

14. Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole was one of the best left-backs in his days. But when he was in the Arsenal Academy, he was initially a striker.  Over time, he was then converted to a left-back and became pretty good at it. But one thing is for sure, the attacking component remained pretty evident in his game, as he went on to play a huge role in that arsenal’s invincible squad. 

15. Sol Campbell

Another defender who played a key role in that invincible squad was Sol Campbell. And as you’ve probably guessed, Campbell wasn’t always a center-back either. Just like Cole, he also started as a striker at Spurs Academy. With time he was then moved a bit deeper into midfield, before finally settling in at centre back.

16. Kurt Zouma

Another center-back who wasn’t always a center-back was Kurt Zouma. In Zouma’s case, he was initially an attacking midfielder. He even played on the wings and as a striker at some point. But of course, with time, the center-back position was found to be his best, and he has played there ever since. 

17. Andy Carroll

This one might be quite surprising to you. Andy Carroll once played as a left-back. Yes, the same Andy Carroll. Now, you’re probably wondering how he was able to cope at left-back with that height. Well, the answer is, he wasn’t. Matter of fact, it was while he was at left back that he experienced a growth spurt that gave him this height. And well, his coaches knew he couldn’t play there at that height. So he got moved further forward to the centre-forward position. 

Keep reading: 10 Footballers Whose Careers Are Affected By ROMANTIC Relationships

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