It's been a weird preseason so far for DeAndre Yedlin and it got a whole lot weirder on Friday.
The United States international was thought to be on the way back to Sunderland this season until the Black Cats lost their manager, Sam Allardyce, to England. Now it seems his status for the current season is in limbo. However, if Tottenham Hotspur's friendly against Atletico Madrid on Friday is any indication, he could have a brand new role: utility man.
Yedlin got the start in the second friendly of the club's preseason tour of Australia. Yet, he didn't play his natural position of right back. Spurs' expected second string right back, Kieran Trippier got the start there, while Yedlin was asked to play left back. I've been watching Yedlin since he was a rookie with Seattle and can never recall him playing that position before.
Unfortunately, I missed the match as it was at 6 a.m., but those who did watch it say he looked just fine in an unfamiliar role. I'm told he was adequate defensively but not as adventurous in getting forward. Here's The Guardian's match coverage summed up in Yedlin highlights:
- 10 min - Yedlin switches on the gas and burns by Vrsaljko, who recovers well, sliding in to concede a corner.
- 16 min - Yedlin cuts out a pass from Gabi and finds Eriksen, who drives forward and looks for Lamela at inside-left - but the pass is overhit and that's that.
- 30 min - Yedlin is absolutely platzing (yiddish for blazing) to run as fast as he can whenever he's anywhere near the ball. An endearing trait.
- 48 min - Yedlin is rash in diving in on Torres, and Atleti have a free-kick in a dangerous position: 30 yards out, right of centre, a bit wider than for the goal.
Our friends at Cartilage Free Captain had this to say about his performance:
DeAndre Yedlin spent his entire shift playing at LB, which was disappointing because I thought he was, again, better than Kieran Trippier in this match. I’m not sure what this means for his future at Spurs, though, because Poche clearly seems to favor starting Trips in his natural position over Yedlin.
He lasted 60 minutes at the left back spot and apparently held his own. So, what does this mean for Yedlin this season? Is he about to become Spurs' utility guy who can play all over the field? We know he can play on the wing as an attacker when asked to. Couple that with his newfound left back adventure, if he stays at Spurs this season instead of going out on loan he could be their Fabian Johnson type player (just not as important).
Spurs will have a ton of fixtures this season with the Champions League on the horizon. They'll need all the bodies they can possible get. With injures an inevitability, he could find himself playing in extremely important matches if he stays.