Knudsen: Centre-Back Role Suits Me
Thursday, 16th Feb 2017 17:39
Town boss Mick McCarthy’s belief that left-back Jonas Knudsen could carve out a future as a central defender has proved spot-on.
The 24-year-old Dane, virtually ever-present since his arrival from Esbjerg in August 2015, confirmed he has another string to his bow in his last two outings at Aston Villa and Brighton.
Knudsen said: “When Steven Taylor got injured at Aston Villa the gaffer brought Myles [Kenlock] on and said I had to play as left centre-back. It was my first time in that position but I felt comfortable and I was there again at Brighton.
“I think it suits me because I’m a player who wants to win my duels, press opponents and close them down. I like it and I also like to have the ball so that I can do something with it, like put some passes up to the strikers. It’s been alright but I’ve only had the two games there.
“The gaffer has played me there in training games and told me that at some point in the future he would like to see me in that position in first-team games.
“He got the chance against Villa and I admit that for the first five or 10 minutes I was going to Luke Chambers and Christophe Berra, the other members of the back line, and asking what they wanted me to do in certain situations.
“They helped me a lot and I still have a lot to learn about the position. But I feel comfortable about it and I think it suits me. I would be quite happy to play there again if the gaffer wants me to.”
Knudsen was asked if the roles differed greatly and responded: “At full-back you spend more time running up the line on the overlap. I’m a player who wants to run a lot and do the hard work for the team. But sometimes it’s maybe better as a central defender because it’s less about running and more about making sure you are in the right positions.
“That’s the biggest difference – you don’t get forward as much – but playing at the back you have a good view of the game.
“You can read the play a bit better from there. If I’m playing at the back I will go up for corners and maybe that will allow me to get a goal or two.
“If I’m at left-back and we get a corner the gaffer wants me to stay back and defend.
“Of course, if I am playing left-back I sometimes have a chance when the ball is put into the box from the right side of the pitch.
“In the long term it might help me to have experience of playing in a different position but at the moment I still think of myself as a left-back.”
Regardless of where he plays, Knudsen is a certain starter against Leeds on Saturday, but talisman Tom Lawrence will be missing through suspension after collecting a 10th yellow card of the season at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.
Knudsen admitted: “He is going to be a big miss. Tom is a brilliant player and everybody has seen what he can do for the team. In his first game at Derby he started on the left in front of me and he has developed ever since.
“But although we will miss him we have a good squad and it will be a chance for someone else to come in.
“We have to put in a big performance against Leeds because we want to show our home fans what we can do.
“We put in a good performance in the last home game against Reading and after good results at Villa and Brighton we are looking forward to playing in front of our own fans again.
“They were great against Reading and they have to know how important a part they can play.
“It was like we had 12 players against Reading because the level of support was so good. The fans who were at Villa and Brighton were brilliant and gave us a real lift so I hope we can do well for the supporters again.”
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