‘I’m enjoying it’ – Destiny Udogie on playing the inverted full-back role at Spurs

Destiny Udogie has admitted that he has had to work hard to adapt to the demands of the inverted full-back role in Ange Postecoglou’s system, revealing that he is now starting to enjoy operating in the position.

Udogie had made his name at Udinese featuring exclusively as a wing-back and that is the position he was presumably signed for, with Antonio Conte preferring to play with three at the back.

So there were some question marks over whether he would be able to adapt to Postecoglou’s system, which requires the full-backs to tuck in to provide extra bodies in midfield.

It is fair to say that Udogie has answered those questions unequivocally, with the Italian arguably being the best left-back on show in the Premier League so far this season.

The Italian revealed that Postecoglou was clear with him from day one just what he expected of him.

Udogie told The Athletic: “The first day I came in, he called me to speak with him and he told me I’m a key player for him. He explained what he wanted from me, and knowing I had the trust of the head coach was a big motivation.”

Destiny Udogie
(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Destiny Udogie is working hard to learn inverted role

The 20-year-old admitted that he had to learn to overrule his natural instinct to stay out-wide and had to develop a better awareness of what is around him.

He said about adapting to the new role: “At the beginning playing as an inverted full-back was a bit different because I was a wing-back. As a wing-back, I’m just on the side, but playing partly in midfield you have to be aware of what’s going on behind you.

“You have to be ready before you receive the ball. You have to know what is behind you and in front of you and what you’re going to do. So it’s a bit like being a midfielder. At the beginning, I was more operating close to the wing. But step by step, I move more inside, and feel more secure. It’s going well. I’m enjoying it.”

Udogie revealed that the work he has done with assistant manager Matt Wells has helped him improve his defensive awareness.

He added: “Wellsy and all the defence we work together every day. And he is very good at it because he helps us a lot — with the high line, and how to be compact. We work together and we move together. So it’s a risk, but it’s also a good, good thing for us.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Watching Udogie this season, one would have thought that he has played as an inverted full-back for many years. His transition to the role has been quite seamless, which perhaps shows the youngster’s all-round ability and his tactical awareness.

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