They say the next big thing is here,
that the revolution's near,
but to me it seems quite clear
that it's all just a little bit of history repeating
- History Repeating, by the Propellerheads
Mathieu Flamini's angry because he's going to have to play at full back for Milan. He had to fill in as a full back last year due to the thinness of their squad, and he hates the position. As he told Sky Sports,
"I don't want to play as a full-back, I am a midfielder. This year Milan will be strong in defence."
It's a shame, because he's quite good at it
Our 2006 Champions League cup run famously took the record for longest time without conceding a goal. It was such a patched up line up - Flamini, Senderos, Toure, Eboue - that you wouldn't have thought it possible that they'd hold out Juventus and Villareal, and come so close to upsetting Barcelona. It seemed contradictory that such a mismatched grouping could have had such sustained success. And yet, it did.
At the heart of the puzzle was the question of Flamini. He was a mediocre defensive midfielder who'd been shoehorned into the left-back position because of Clichy's injuries and Cole's petulance. He'd never played in that position before. There was no indication, other than his phenomenal work-rate, that he'd be any good at it. But it worked.
He took a stance the next season by refusing to play left back, claiming that he only wanted to be a midfielder. At the time, it seemed like an astonishing bit of petulance. He was a squad player as a midfielder, and probably first choice as a full-back. The pragmatic thing to do would be to play wherever he was needed. But he proved the doubters wrong in the end by playing that brilliant 07-08 season as our defensive foil for Cesc.
When he signed with Milan, I'm sure he did so with the expectation of playing in midfield. After all, he'd played there with Arsenal quite well. The last thing he'd expect was that he'd be forced to play at full-back again.
It'll be quite funny if it wasn't so puzzling.
What problem does he have with playing at left back? It's not like he's playing in a glamorous role at the moment. Flamini's role is basically to chase after the ball until the opposition get sick of the attention. And as Daniel Alves has shown, being a full-back doesn't necessarily mean you can't also shine as a winger, midfielder, striker, centre-back...