City ace says he is enjoying developing his game as a wing-back...
ERIK PIETERS admits he is loving the challenge of adjusting to a new role in Mark Hughes’ starting XI.
The Dutch international has played the vast majority of his career as an out and out left-back, but has this season been switched to left wing-back.
Hughes’ decision to move away from his tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 formation in favour of a more modern, and complex, wing-back system has seen Pieters deployed in a more advanced positions, and he says he is thoroughly enjoying it.
Speaking in the build-up to tomorrow’s trip to the Etihad Stadium, he said: “It is nice, it is quite different to what I have been used to, but having the freedom to get up the pitch is good.
“It’s a role I enjoy although I am still getting used to some aspects of it, because it is a very unique role - you have to attack and you have to defend, and sometimes you have to change your mind set very quickly.
“Usually as a full-back you have a winger in front of you, and you are able to link up and forge a partnership, but now I have to do it all on my own."
“I just love the game though and I just want to help the team, so whether that is defending or attacking, then I am happy to do that.”
A defensive injury crisis has meant that Pieters has been forced to cover in a more central position on a couple of occasions this season, although he is expected to resume his wing-back role against Manchester City on Saturday.
Pieters admits he and his teammates face an almighty task against the current league leaders, but says the opportunity to come up against an in-form Blues side, having already upset several other Premier League big boys, is something he is looking forward to.
“It will be a good test for us for sure, but this is why we all want to play in the Premier League, to come up against teams like Manchester City,” the 29-year-old added.
“We have already played some of the big sides at home, and done pretty well, so hopefully we can be positive and give it a go on Saturday.
“Manchester City are a top level team, with world class players, but so are Arsenal and so are Manchester United, and we managed to take four points from those fixtures.”