RB Leipzig player, Tyler Adams raised more than a few eyebrows after lining up at center-back for the Bundesliga club on Saturday in their DFB Cup first-round clash with Nuremberg.
This is the first time Tyler, who has been playing in the middle of the pack has ever played in that position. This is therefore a new-found calling for the USA international. With such a display, it won’t be surprising to have top European clubs wanting him, having shown his flexibility as a utility player.
Adams has been training a central midfielder. He has been a defensive shield for the backline for the majority of his career to date but added a new role to his play yesterday. Another feather to his camp in the game was that he went home with the Man of the Match honours.
So good to be back out there! Great performance from all the guys today!! pic.twitter.com/DTs6nmWiNr— Tyler Adams (@tyler_adams14) September 12, 2020
Interestingly, this is not the first he will be playing elsewhere on the pitch. The 21-year-old had also operated at right-back for both Leipzig and the US national team before. So, he has featured in various other positions across the midfield, primarily on the right-wing. But he had never tried it as centre-back. But he did well as the central figure in a three-man backline in a competitive fixture for the first time. Leipzig won the game 3-0.
Adams played the entire duration against Nuremberg. The player who is is 5’9” weigh 159 pounds does not have the physique traditionally required of the position to nullify bulky opposition strikers compared to his teammate Dayot Upamecano, who partnered Adam against Nuremberg.
The Frenchman who won his first debut for the senior national team during the international break is 6’1” and 198 pounds. This makes him to be someone who bullies forwards, rather than being bullied by them.
Why RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann tried Tyler Adams at center back
In a situation where natural center-backs are out of action through suspension or injuries, we see midfielders coming in as an emergency replacement. But it was surprising yesterday to see Tyler play the role despite Leipzig having Willi Orban and Nordi Mukiele, who are both tri on the bench.d and tested center-backs.
The sense of intrigue behind head coach Julian Nagelsmann’s decision is yet to be known. It is believed that this will help the team further in the season.
With Lukas Klostermann also in the starting line-up on Saturday, it means that Tyler was not plugging any hole as an emergency back up. The Germany international had played on the right side of a back three, with Upamecano in the middle.
So, Nagelsmann had several other defensive options. Another thing to note is that regular central midfielder Konrad Laimer was absent due to a knee complaint, and Tyler would have fit in perfectly for him.
“I definitely feel good. I think we’ve had good preparation coming to the start of the new season. We used the Champions League as our pre-season games. They were competitive games as well that we’ve performed really well in, so we’re taking the confidence from those games and moving on to this phase now.
“I think the team did well. We had a couple of new players out there and they had some good performances as well. Hwang Hee-chan contributed with a goal and we’re very happy with the performance. We had tactics going into it and we executed it well,” Adams said after the final whistle.
So, the plot thickens to see the kind of development Nagelsmann wants to bring into Adams.