Premier Number 10s Lionel Messi and James Rodriguez have spoken on the positional adjustments they are currently experiencing at club and international level.
The international break has seen both players called up to their respective national teams; but whilst for James a return to his favoured position with Colombia brings brief respite, Messi has had to remain flexible, as – like recently at Barcelona – Argentina look to incorporate their wealth of attacking talent into a suitable formation.
As Colombia prepared to take on the USA at Fulham’s Craven Cottage in London, James stated he was looking forward to playing in a position he feels most comfortable – one which saw him shoot to prominence during last summer’s World Cup:
It’s true I play a little deeper for Real Madrid. I can push a little further forward here for Colombia. I hope to play where I feel most comfortable and help the team to win. I feel more comfortable where I play for Colombia because I like to be closer to the goal; that works better for me. I can score and pass from there. But as a player I have to be prepared to play in any position.
The difficulties James would encounter hoping to play as a true No10 for Real Madrid were outlined after he completed his transfer from Monaco, and his latest comments show it is something the young player is still adjusting to.
At the same time, Lionel Messi is also experiencing yet another positional alteration at Barcelona – this time to incorporate a team now able to employ both Neymar and Luis Suarez in the front positions.
Unlike James however, the international break has not brought respite for Messi, as Argentina’s manager (and former Barcelona boss Tata Martino) tries to find the best formation and balance for a team that boasts the attacking talents of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and the recalled Carlos Tevez.
Many predicted Messi would figure centrally in any attack for both teams, or even become a more orthodox, classical No10, but both club and country have recently chosen to return Messi to a wider area on the pitch – the position he originally burst onto the scene in.
It’s a position I know and one I’ve got to get used to again, because I haven’t played there for a long time. I also played my last two games for Barcelona on the right,
Messi said following Argentina’s match against Croatia, in which he scored both goals in a 2-1 win.