To celebrate Vincent Kompany’s birthday, we take a look at five players who excelled after changing position.
When Manchester City signed the now 29-year-old, he was a versatile central midfield with defensive tendencies.
However, he was pushed into a completely defensive role, and has since excelled for City, being one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League for many years. His form may have dropped off this season, but there is no denying this quality.
To celebrate the birthday of one of the true Premier League greats, we take a look at five other players who have excelled since changing position.
John Charles - Defender to Striker
Starting his career at Leeds United as a centre-back, Welsh legend Charles was considered one of the best defenders in the Football League. A few years later, he was converted into a centre-forward, and although he was regarded for his height, strength and overall physicality, it was his technical goalscoring ability that made the change so easy. He ended up scoring 333 career goals, most of them with Leeds and Juventus - with whom he was voted their greatest ever foreign player in 1997.
Sol Campbell - Striker to Defender
The opposite to Charles, Campbell started his youth career as a striker, before moving to left- and right-back, and finally settling in central defence when already an established member of the side. Of course, he is more famously remembered for his decision to leave Tottenham for Arsenal, but he will still go down as one of the best centre-backs in Premier League history.
Thierry Henry - Winger to Striker
Starting his career as a left-sided winger, it was Henry’s transformation to an out-and-out forward that truly made his name as a world great. A great scorer of goals and a scorer of great goals, it was arguably his start as a winger that made him such a good forward, with his ability to cut in from the left and shoot on his right foot a famous goalscoring technique of his.
Gareth Bale - Defender to Striker
Bale famously had a rough start at Spurs when playing as a left-back, with the North London club going 24 Premier League games without a win when he featured. He did start to impress as a marauding wide-man, but it was not until he was pushed further up the field that he truly excelled. Given a free-role at Spurs he earned a transfer to Real Madrid, and he is all-but an out-and-out striker now - generally playing on the right of a front-three.
John O’Shea - Everywhere
The Manchester United hero may not have moved position in the sense of the others on this list, but he is given an honorary mention for his ability to play everywhere. Famously turning out in goal for United, he played in every position for them before his departure to Sunderland, where he is currently playing his natural centre-back role.