Ghana to waste their best player at left back in the World Cup?

Claudio Villa

Kwadwo Asamoah is a world class two-way midfielder and wide man. So Ghana is testing him out at left back in a 4-3-3. What?

If you've been reading up on the United States' opponents in the build-up to the World Cup, you're probably familiar with Kwadwo Asamoah. The Juventus wingback is Ghana's undisputed best player and spent most of his time playing central midfield with both Udinese and the Black Stars before he moved to Turin.

He's equally adept at about six different positions and most agreed he'd play as a box-to-box midfielder, between a holder and advanced midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng. But instead, Ghana are playing him at left back in their final friendly match against South Korea. Instead of playing Asamoah in the middle, they're starting Mohammed Rabiu as a holder and Sulley Muntari in the box-to-box role Asamoah was expected to occupy.

It's not too difficult to figure out what Akwasi Appiah is thinking. He has a lot of solid right backs, but no great left backs, and he was expected to play one of his right-sided players out of position. Judging by what Alejandro Bedoya did against Nigeria, that might have been a problem. Nigeria has lots of good midfielders, so playing Asamoah at left back allows them to get more quality on the pitch.

But the sacrifice is taking their best player out of the most important area in the pitch -- especially while the United States is trying to pack that area with a diamond midfield. In the center, Asamoah would be a constant terror in defense, attack and transition. At left back, he's inherently less of a threat.

Even though this move would get more quality players into Ghana's team, it's still a win for the United States. They can handle a hobbled Michael Essien or the fairly average Sulley Muntari in the middle. I'm not sure they'd be able to handle Asamoah.

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