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"Arjen Robben changed it"- Kilbane on the evolving role of inverted wingers

Kenneth Fox
Kenneth Fox

09:47 13 Aug 2019


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Lionel Messi revolutionised the false nine role, while Claude Makélélé transformed the role of the defensive midfielder - Kevin Kilbane thinks Arjen Robben did the same thing for inverted wingers.

Speaking on The Football Show on Off The Ball, Kilbane spoke about how Robben ended up on the opposite side in the first place.

"Robben was only put on the right-hand side because of Damien Duff.

"They had two brilliant left-footed left-wingers and they had to find a place for both of them in the side, that's why Robben played out on the right," Kilbane said.

While having inverted winger is not anything new, it was how Robben played the position that made him so good.

"Like Robben getting onto his left foot - you could read it, you knew what he was going to do.

"It's just amazing how a player has that knack and you can't stop it," the former Everton winger said.

Cutting inside

He remembered a time when he played against the Dutch winger and how devastating he was.

"I remember playing a game against him the season we finished fourth at Everton, we played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

"It was a brilliant game to play in, Robben scored late on coming in off the right-hand side, I was playing as left-winger.

"He comes in and he got a bit of a lucky break but he skipped by our left-back - Gary Naismith - and stuck it into the back of the net," he said.

In his mind, it was how he changed the role of the winger from a provider to a real attacking weapon that was so impressive.

"Robben changed it, he was so much of a goal threat more than what we had seen.

"That was Robben - he was good at finding space whether it was running onto passes to finish first time or that little dribble that he always does.

"It became so effective with what Robben did that so many sides started doing it then," the former Ireland international said.

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


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