Bayern Munich of Germany’s Nigerian-born defender, David Olatokunbo Alaba is staking stock of the first line of matches he has played in a new role as centre back with his club, and posited that it has not been as bad as he initially feared it would be, megasportsarena.com reports.
Having stepped up from his traditional and famous role as left-back with The Bavarians, where he had been rated one of the very best in his position across the whole wide world, it appeared as if Alaba was taken up more than he could chew, but the Austria international says he is not feeling out of place after all.
Although he says it is not yet time to judge whether the plays better as left-back or in central defence, Alaba says he is he is relishing the extended opportunity to play in a different position and offer more for the German Bundesliga defending champions this season.
He has played there five times already this term, with Bayern winning four of those fixtures, with Alaba even getting the nod from the club’s interim coach, Hansi Flick ahead of centre-back specialist, Jerome Boateng.
Despite Bayern’s defeat to Bayer Leverkusen last week, Alaba was again outstanding, not only in terms of his defensive positioning and winning 10 tackles, but also in starting his team’s attacks, as the 27-year-old, who became a father for the first time on Tuesday, showed the same versatile quality that has seen him play as a midfielder in Austria’s national team.
He moved into central defence out of necessity rather than choice, owing to long-term injuries to regular pairing Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez but, although he last played there under Pep Guardiola in the 2015/16 season, he has seamlessly adjusted to playing alongside Javi Martinez.
Alaba submitted: “Maybe I’m playing there because I interpret the position differently than a natural centre-back would. If you watch our last few games, you can see my presence on the pitch. That’s what I’m aiming for and trying to take these steps is part and parcel of developing.
“We’ll see. I’ve played it now a few times. It works very well for the team, because we have the ball very often and play high up the pitch. That suits me well.”