Steve Bruce has tinkered with a 3-5-2 during pre-season, but has looked relatively bereft defensively whilst doing so. Could Andre Green perform as a left wing-back, or are his talents needed elsewhere? Writer Matt Blogg discusses.
Words by Matt Blogg (@Blogg_Matt) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)
During pre-season Steve Bruce has been experimenting with various tactics to see what works best for this Villa side, and one of those trialled tactics has been a change of formation to 3-5-2. On paper, the squad probably doesn’t have the personnel to suit this formation, but as many players at Villa have proven themselves to be versatile, it could potentially be an option. One issue with the formation however may be the left wing-back role and the lack of players who could play there, but could a young, fit, hungry Andre Green fill in there and do a job?
Andre Green is one of Villa’s quickest players, so straight away that ticks a box. To be able to burst up and down at pace to support both the defence and the attack is an important job for a wing-back and there is no reason to believe Green couldn’t do this comfortably. As well as this, he is a natural athlete, blessed not only with the pace but also with stamina, which is arguably even more important than speed in the wingback role. So another box is ticked. Thirdly, he is an extremely hungry and determined player. He would be happy to be on the pitch in any position and will always give 100% for the team. He would bust some serious guts to get up and down and he would always make himself an option, hungry to have a serious impact on the game. And on top of all this there is no doubt that he would want to be involved in every attack and try and get on the end of crosses from the other side, so he would be a serious attacking threat.
However, he is a winger. Not a wing-back, not a full-back, a winger. And it is a huge risk asking such a young and ultimately inexperienced attacker to burden such immense pressure to deliver defensively. Andre Green would undoubtedly have the discipline to try, but he wouldn’t have the knowledge or defensive ability to perform his defensive tasks too well. Attacking wise, he would be great as wingback, but there are so many defensive duties that a wingback has to perform, so it would feel very risky playing him there.
A wingback is a full back first, and joins attacks when they can, but Green would be the complete opposite, so it would be a huge gamble.
If Bruce was to go with 3-5-2, he is more likely to go with Elmohamady or Bree on the right, and Hutton on the left, as Taylor is also not a wing-back, just a competent full-back.
If a formation with out and out wingers is played by Villa, Green should be starting without a doubt, as his attacking threat is terrifying for defenders and he’s so determined to make up for time lost to his injury last season. But as wing-back, defensive duties are paramount and unless he has been secretly trained into the position by Bruce for the last year or so, he would likely struggle with the defensive side of the role and in a Steve Bruce side, defence is always the most important thing, so it would feel strange having an attacker guarding the left side of the defence.
Make your own minds up, but personally, I wouldn’t want to see Green deployed as a wing back. Let him attack with freedom.