'Ten Hag plays players out of position' - Man Utd fan Waldrum defends Nigeria team selection 

Published: July 27, 2023
'Ten Hag plays players out of position' - Man Utd fan Waldrum defends Nigeria team selection 

Self-confessed Manchester United fan Randy Waldrum cited Dutch football tactician Erik ten Hag as he was asked to defend his team selection for the Super Falcons opening game of the 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup.


British-Nigerian journalist Osasu Obayiuwana noted during the pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday's showdown against Australia that Waldrum does not field his players in their natural positions, where they play their best, and the players are often deployed in utility positions. 


Michelle Alozie is listed as a forward by Houston Dash but was asked to play at right-back against Canada while ex-Leicester City star Ashleigh Plumptre filled in at left-back though she's a central defender. 


Francisca Ordega, Ifeoma Onumonu and Toni Payne are predominantly strikers but were all utilized as attacking midfielders in Waldrum's flexible 4-2-3-1 formation. 


Defending his selection, Waldrum stressed that his objective is to put his best players on the pitch. 


Asked if that's the best way to use the players, instead of utilizing the players where they are strongest, the American answered: "I guess the best way I can answer your question is this. I'm sorry the people in Nigeria think I play the players out of position.


"I'm a big Manchester United fan, I sit on my couch on the weekend, I think Ten Hag plays players out of position, players that shouldn't be in the lineup as well. 


"So I understand. Back home we call it the couch coaches that sit on the surface and question everything you do, so that will be my answer to the people in Nigeria. As a coach our job is to put the best eleven players on the field at the weekend

"Sometimes getting the best players on might mean playing them somewhere where they are not playing for their clubs."


Heading into this morning's clash, Nigeria are third in Group B of the standings and must avoid defeat against the Australians to stand a chance of progressing to the last sixteen of the competition.



Ifeanyi Emmanuel 



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