Rodgers: "Jose Enrique is a Real Threat"

Stu Forster

From out of favour fullback to starting winger in less than a month, Jose Enrique has grabbed his chance to make an impact under new manager Brendan Rodgers and shows no signs of handing the role back over to others any time soon.

A month ago, Jose Enrique was on the fringes. Out of favour with his manager having questioned his ability to make an impact and with speculation building he might leave as soon as January. He was also, it must be recalled, at the time still recovering from a nagging injury. Now, though, he just might be Brendan Rodgers' first choice on the left wing, rocketing past youngster Suso and new arrival Oussama Assaidi on the depth chart after only a few games in attack.

"I think he's been outstanding and it's a great credit to him," said Rodgers of Enrique's sudden ascension to starting winger—and, in his sixth season in English football, now a goalscorer at the Premier League level. "He and I spoke earlier on in the season about trying to develop and improve his game.

"It's an interesting one because he's a real threat going forward with his pace and his power. You could see in the last three games how determined he is to get a goal. But you also see his defensive qualities because he's tracking back. He's been a real plus for us and it's great to see because he's worked very hard.

"It hasn't been easy for him but I think you've seen his commitment. How he's been working every day, you're seeing that now on the field. I'm delighted for him because he's good guy and he wants to do well for this club."

What the future may hold for Enrique remains unclear, though if the club charts a frugal course in the January transfer window and Enrique's form continues into the new year there's every chance to think he could hold onto the starting role even against a challenger sourced from the Premier League's bargain bin.

That might seem a disappointing prospect on the surface for many fans—and something of a complete waste of a smaller number of millions due to an unwillingness to spend a few more of them—but the Enrique who has put in three strong performances on the bounce would hardly be a poor option for most sides in England not legitimately challenging for the league title.

"Jose played in that position early on in his career," added Rodgers of the left-footer's recent move up the pitch, "but since he's come to this country he's played more as a full-back. You can see he's got the qualities to play the role—he is an offensive player who has got great pace and power, can take people on and he's a real threat when he gets into the final third.

"He's comfortable in the position, which is important, and it gives us that great thrust at the top end of the field."

Failing the signing of a truly top class wide attacker in January, at least, long may it continue.

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