Is Danny Wellbeck the English Thomas Muller?

(Getty)

(Getty)

 

There’s enough similarities in their games to start comparing the two. Both of them have come up through the youth systems of the dominant clubs in their countries. Both represented their countries at an early age and have become key figures. And they both have a an athletic skinny frame with spindly limbs together with the same kind of uniform technical excellence.

They’re both players geared towards the current ubiquitous 4-2-3-1, able at a push to play any position in the front four (often at club level to Wellbeck’s detriment, his engine and diligence in tracking back leaving him unable to be positioned further forward in big games).

They both have the ability to fill many positions but never be defined by one, the same sort of not quite winger/not quite striker/ not quite number 10/inside right. They’re both tailor made for football as a game of sprints, a never ending pull and push of movement as they race to either cover for or join in with a counter attack.

The key difference in them is what makes Muller already a great player. It takes a while to appreciate just how good he is at finding space.

In an increasingly athletic sport with teams focussed on playing between the lines and always pressing space has become the one premium that teams can’t do without. Muller is the best in the world at finding it. Without the ball he’s peerless. He himself described his role as an interpreter of space and came up with the word Raumdeuter or space investigator to describe it.

With this Thomas has made himself the man for the big occasion. Time and time again last season Muller scored or created goals when his side needed him. In the first leg of the Champions League semi against Barca it was Muller’s two goals that established Bayern’s dominance (he did this in what if any would be is his favoured position, roaming behind the main striker filling in for the injured Toni Kroos).

He has managed to find a way to assert himself in games where Wellbeck so far has not. Whether this too can be learned is another issue. Wellbeck’s came at this season from a standing start, focussing on getting forward more and already reaping the benefits. He has everything he needs to be successful there. Whether he can ever copy Muller’s ability to interpret space is something that might be beyond. England and Man Utd should hope not.

Source: Friendly Fussball

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