Football

Five of the best: Premier League utility men

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Rooney is a multi-talented genius. (©GettyImages)
Rooney is a multi-talented genius. (©GettyImages).

In a modern game where footballers endure savage physical beatings season after season, managers need a special player or two who can fill the void left by injuries and fatigue.

The phrase 'he could play anywhere' is needlessly mentioned all too often, and the select group of stars truly capable of excelling in multiple areas of the pitch deserve to be recognised.

So, here are five talented players who have proven able to slot into a handful of roles as required.

David Luiz

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has seen fit to deploy the eccentric Brazilian in the heart of his defence – a risk former interim boss Rafael Benitez wasn't willing to take so easily.

The Spaniard fielded Luiz in a holding midfield position where he could utilise his flair and skill without jeopardising his side's security at the back.

It's been a while since he's been asked to do so, but the 26-year-old also spent part of his career playing as a left fullback for Benfica and being a right-footer, you would assume he could do a job on the right-hand side, too.

Wayne Rooney

As eventual Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie banged in the goals last term, Rooney was frozen out of contention for the main striking role at Old Trafford and was forced to operate in central midfield instead.

The England international hardly looked out of place in the middle of the park thanks to his energy, determination and technique. Whether he's most effective playing in a withdrawn role is debatable, but Rooney's midfield cameo certainly proved his undeniable versatility by demonstrating every inch of his fantastic all-around qualities.

Sascha Riether

Unlucky to be shut out of the PFA Team of the Year by Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta last season, the 30-year-old German forced Fulham to table a permanent deal following his hugely successful loan spell from Cologne.

The former Wolfsburg star has made the right fullback slot at Craven Cottage his own, but can also offer cover at centre back, right midfield and centre or holding midfield.

But considering his superb consistency on the right of defence for the west London club, why would Martin Jol play him anywhere else?

Yaya Touré

Given his unstoppable midfield performances in the 2011/12 Premier League campaign, you could be forgiven for forgetting that the powerhouse Ivorian plied his tried in the centre of defence for Barcelona before joining Manchester City.

Sure he could still get the job done at centre half, but after scoring four goals in seven league appearances to date this season, Manuel Pellegrini won't shifting his brilliant free-roaming midfielder back into defence any time soon.

Phil Jones

When Manchester United splashed out £16m for Phil Jones in June 2011, they weren't just getting a centre back, but a right-back, a holding midfielder and a centre midfielder.

The 21-year-old has proved himself accomplished in all these positions since arriving at Old Trafford, but will hope to pin down a designated role within the next few seasons.

Who do you think is the most versatile player in England? Let us know in the comments below.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
David Luiz
Phil Jones
Gnegneri Toure Yaya
Wayne Rooney
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