HomeViews and OpinionsConor Bradley - our future right-back?

Conor Bradley – our future right-back?

It was great to see Conor Bradley scoring for Northern Ireland on Tuesday night. He’s been top-class since he started filling in for Trent Alexander-Arnold.

When Trent is fit, it’s certainly going to be food for thought how our defence lines up. While it’s obviously true to say that Trent is a generational talent with his incredible passing ability, I personally feel that Bradley would appear to have the edge defensively. He reminds me somewhat of Robbo, or possibly a slightly younger Robbo.

Tough as nails and strong in the tackle, quick and rarely passed. He’s no slouch going forward either. With his ability to overlap and put great balls in he’s a real asset in the opposing half of the pitch, and he gets his share of goals too.

Luckily I’m not paid to choose who plays; I’m usually fairly opinionated but I’d struggle with this one! If Bradley plays, surely Trent would go into the middle. In my mind he’d occupy the number 6 area, but more as a ‘quarterback’ type player, creating rather than defending.

How would this fit in with Wataru Endo actually playing the ‘defensive’ number 6? He’s been classy and is improving. I don’t see Trent pushing out Dominik Szoboszlai or Alexis Mac Allister out of their starting roles as ‘conventional’ midfielders. Szoboszlai’s speed and strength going forward seem a good match for Mac Allister’s guile.

I think we have to be positive that we actually have top-quality choices now; not simply whoever happens to be fit turning out. Another positive is that with five substitutes, it’s become a different game. Before the starting team was everything. Now tactical changes can be implemented by changing the playing personnel far more often.

I also think that there will be different ‘first’ teams put out depending on the challenges each of our opponents bring. If there’s a difficult away game, say Villa away in May, we could start ‘compact’ with Bradley as right back, and Trent coming on later.

Or is that a step too far? Should Trent go straight in at RB, along with his ‘hybrid’ role, when fit?

On the subject of the ‘hybrid’ role, anyone else thinking Joe Gomez, despite being so good this season, is not actually cut out for that particular job when he strolls across from full-back to central midfield?

So onto Sunday, it’s Brighton at Anfield. A great opportunity to put three points on the board before the City/Arsenal game. I’ll be trying the new Annie Rd upper stand for the first time; I’ll let you know at a later date how it feels!

Have a great Easter…

If you like Dr Andy Hershon’s writing, check out his book – 15 Minutes With You: Tips on Medical Consulation and Other Musings

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