Players Who Have Played in Weird Positions After Bruno Fernandes Plays As Centre Back

Players Who Have Played in Weird Positions After Bruno Fernandes Plays As Centre Back

Martin Moses
updated at March 18, 2024 at 9:41 AM
In this article:
Bruno Fernandes logo
B. Fernandes
Manchester United logoMPortugal logo
Bukayo Saka logo
Arsenal logoFEngland logo
Aurelien Tchouameni logo
Real Madrid logoMFrance logo
Eduardo Camavinga logo
Real Madrid logoMFrance logo
Harry Maguire logo
Manchester United logoDEngland logo
John Stones logo
Manchester City logoDEngland logo
Manuel Akanji logo
M. Akanji
Manchester City logoDSwitzerland logo
  • Bruno Fernandes played as a centre-back in Manchester United's game vs Liverpool
  • Erik ten Hag used different formations and personnel to qualify for the semi-finals
  • Sports Brief takes a look at other players who have played in awkward positions

Erik ten Hag got his revenge on Jurgen Klopp by eliminating his side from the FA Cup on March 17. The Dutch tactician and Manchester United fans are still reeling from the 7-0 humbling last season, and ending their rivals' quadruple charge was a welcome result.

The goal-laden encounter at Old Trafford was full of tactical ingenuity from both managers in a game packed with end-to-end action.

Bruno Fernandes, Bukayo Saka, Harry Maguire, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, Manchester United vs Liverpool.
Bruno Fernandes in action for Manchester United against Liverpool on March 17. Photo by Ash Donelon.
Source: Getty Images

Ten Hag tweaked his formation constantly to adjust to the game, and at one point, Harry Maguire was the only recognised centre-back on the pitch for the hosts. But it gets interesting, it was Bruno Fernandes, an attacking midfielder, who spent the last minutes of the game playing as a centre-back.

Players who have played in awkward positions

Weird, no? The decisions vindicated ten Hag in the end as they punched a semi-final date against Coventry City. Fernandes's deployment as a centre-back wasn't the first time a player was used in the 'wrong' position by a manager.

Sports Brief delves into it.

1. Harry Maguire – Defender to Striker

Well, if Fernandes was playing Maguire's position, then where was Maguire against Liverpool? The former Red Devils skipper was sent forward on a couple of occasions as ten Hag tried to use his height in winning aerial duels and get back in the game.

The 31-year-old has played as a striker on numerous occasions before. For instance, against Real Sociedad in the Europa League in November 2022, he lined up front with Cristiano Ronaldo. He was brought on in the 82nd minute and played the rest of the game as a striker.

2. Aurélien Tchouaméni - Midfielder to Defender

Real Madrid's injury woes this season to its top centre-backs have forced Carlo Ancelotti to look for active solutions. One of the solutions has been to convert Tchouameni into a defender.

The French defensive midfielder has been used alongside Antonio Rudiger and Dani Carvajal on multiple occasions and to great effect; they haven't lost a game and currently lead La Liga standings.

3. Eduardo Camavinga - Midfielder to Left-back

Necessity is the mother of invention, and for Ancelotti, it has worked wonders. Injuries to Ferland Mendy saw Eduardo Camavinga drop as a left-back. It is a position he doesn't like but has excelled in. So much so that that Didier Deschamps as also played him there for the French national team.

4. Bukayo Saka - Right-winger to Left-back

The rise of Bukayo Saka to a top prospect in the world has been beautiful to see. For a man who broke through the ranks as a left-back, Saka had to bide his time before he finally proved his worth as a forward.

He also played as a wingback in his formative days but has since established himself as one of the best right-wingers in the world.

5. Frenkie De Jong - Midfielder to Centre-back

One of the issues Ronald Koeman's detractors had with him during his stint as Barcelona coach was the 'unheard' of methods he introduced at the club.

The Blaugrana are a traditional 4-3-3 possession-based team, but the Dutch tactician brought with him some dynamism, which saw them play a back-three at one point.

One of the players used in the back-three was De Jong.

Other mentions

AFCON 2023 top scorer Emilio Nsue famously plays as a right-back for his club but leads the line for his national team, Equatorial Guinea. We can't tell which is his 'weird' position but on the account of outscoring everyone in Ivory Coast, perhaps he should never be used as a right-back again.

Pep Guardiola has brought with him new styles, where one centre-back pushed forward to play in midfield. John Stones and Manuel Akanji have been used as midfielders by the Spaniard.

Jamie Carragher's FA Cup predictions

Sports Brief also reported that Jamie Carragher has brushed off Manchester United's FA Cup hopes. Carragher saw his former side get dumped out of the competition by Erik ten Hag's side.

The former defender has now pipped Manchester City to win back-to-back tournaments. Pep Guardiola's side will play Chelsea in the semi-finals, while United will take on Coventry City, setting up the possibility of a derby in the final.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)