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Rodgers Sees Andre Wisdom's Future at Right Back

In a matter of weeks, Andre Wisdom has gone from prospect to quite nearly an established first team player. Perhaps what's most surprising, though, is that after coming through the ranks as a centre back his future appears to be on the right.

Michael Steele - Getty Images

Andre Wisdom has spent most of his time at Liverpool developing as a centre back, and most will have assumed his move to the right with the first team under Brendan Rodgers was mostly about finding the 19-year-old a bit of playing time early in his career. That's what the conventional wisdom said, at least, when it comes to Liverpool's promising young defender, one who by most accounts has advanced as far as he can with the youth set up and needs more of a challenge if he's to grow further.

It turns out Brendan Rodgers may not see things quite the same way.

"When I came in," Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo, "Andre Wisdom had been playing a lot at centre-half but he has the physical and technical capacity to play full-back. The modern day full-back has a lot of the ball and he has got to have strength, pace and power. Andre has that."

Wisdom did struggle to make an impact in his new role during pre-season, appearing awkward moving forward with the ball and when asked to play triangles down the pitch. A little more than a month down the road, his growing confidence at right back is obvious and speaks to a player who has made massive strides towards becoming almost completely comfortable at what a very short time ago was an unfamiliar position.

Still, despite his rapid improvement, there are moments when his centre back upbringing shows though. Such was the case against Norwich City when he drove confidently into the final third with the ball and cut towards the box before handing off to Luis Suarez. There appeared a clear lane towards goal for Wisdom, and a natural fullback likely would have continued onwards and looked to complete the one-two, only Wisdom checked his run and retreated almost sheepishly back and towards the right touchline.

It was one of the few times his role as a youth player appeared obvious, but greater comfort in such situations will come with time. In fact, given how quickly Wisdom has picked up many aspects of his new role—with his sudden comfort joining in the midfield passing game in particular standing out—one might almost expect he'll have the attacking side of the game down by the end of October.

That might be a bit of a stretch, but still, it appears that along with Raheem Sterling and now Suso Liverpool have another young player at least good enough to compete for a spot in the first team most weeks. Some of that may be due to a lack of options, but in part at least it's also because the prospects in question are hugely promising. And in all of their cases it increasingly appears a question of when rather than if they'll come good, though Rodgers and the club will still have to be careful in managing their continuing development and avoiding the kind of overexposure that could quickly ruin any one of their careers at Liverpool.

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