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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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theblueginger added 17:43 - Feb 16
All credit to Jonas, regardless of what you think of him as a LB he has always struck me as having a positive attitude. I think LCB could be a great career more for him.

Mark added 17:46 - Feb 16
Credit to Knudsen to playing so well at left centre back, and his positive attitude. I think he is a decent defender, but limited going forward. Moving him to left centre back would free Kenlock to develop at left wing back, so I am all for that.

martin587 added 17:46 - Feb 16
You have certainly played very well as a CB.Very well done,let's just hope you get the chance to play there again.!

hoppy added 18:13 - Feb 16
Maybe if this became his position, we'd have someone else taking the attacking throw-ins that usually fall to him to do a long throw with, that I don't actually recall us scoring from, despite persevering with it for so long. Oh well...

GerkensBeard added 18:16 - Feb 16
Absolutely it does Jonas. Looked so comfortable there against Brighton and was part of a good footballing back 3. He's big enough and ugly enough to win his duals and quick enough to cover chambo. Reason that back 5 worked so well was the fact 2 of the centre halfs were full backs, and if myles or Josh were caught up field. Jonas and Jordan were more than comfortable going out wide to cover. Hope this back 5 keeps their places Saturday

carsey added 18:50 - Feb 16
From all the comments I have read Knudsen has done a decent job on the left side of the back 3 so fair play to him for that. Will be helpful for the rest of the season with Tommy on the come back trail and Berra far from being at his best.
I'm more concerned about Chambers being injured now just when he's in his proper position and we are starting to look better across the back. Bloody injuries we have had this season are becoming a real nuisance.

horsehollerer added 19:25 - Feb 16
Well done, indeed. And also to Mick for having the vision and courage to move him into that spot for the first time at Villa, when it must've been tempting to revert to a back 4.

BlueandTruesince82 added 19:35 - Feb 16
Let's remember that Jonas is still young himself.

I like the attitude

Fat_Boy_Tim added 20:35 - Feb 16
JK on the left of the 3 seems our best option at the moment. If Webster were fit he'd certainly have competition and that's only a good thing. On the right, if Spencer stays on then It looks like it's a competition between him and Chambers. Chambers may not tbe the best full back but his experience there should be enough for the right side of a three. In the middle it's any one of the four of Smith, Berra, Chambers and Webster. All in all (looking forward and to next season) that pretty good coverage and depth at the back.

guentchev added 22:23 - Feb 16
We've looked better than we have for years with Spence, Chambers and Knudsen in a back 3. With Webster coming back soon we'll be strong at the back (if we don't lose Chambers and Spence). Think Spence will agree a new contract but not so sure about Chambers.....

guentchev added 22:24 - Feb 16
Should mention Taylor too....he's been good. Shame about his injury.

KiwiBlue2 added 22:38 - Feb 16
I would consider him as understudy to Tommy Smith for left cb role........

KiwiBlue2 added 22:39 - Feb 16
should also say that I do like his positivity and willingness to fit in.

MickMillsTash added 07:15 - Feb 17
Yes - has done well, A role amongst 3 centre backs suits him - good enough on the ball and will cover behind Kenlock- liked it at Villa. However Webster is to come in and McCathy probably wants to play with 4 at the back so how long this formation stays is questionable- until we lose a couple I guess

Lost confidence at full back, not helped by the defensive cover in front, but going forward does not have enough quality

Lightningboy added 10:16 - Feb 17
I think this has come about from injuries to Berra,Taylor,Smith & Webster rather than Mick's visionary management.

Let's not get carried away.

Seasider added 17:38 - Feb 17
Lightingboy is right when he said the switch of Jonas came as a result of injury(to Berra);but Mick has said a couple of times previously that he thought he would do well in left centre position.

Knudsen said in the above interview that he had been played in that position in training;so it wasn't a complete surprise to him.

In view of his performances at cb it will be interesting to see if he retains this position.I think he should .but then I don't manage the team!

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