Versatility is certainly a handy option to have in football and that’s definitely the case for Zak Vyner at Aberdeen.
The Bristol City loanee can play a variety of positions across the backline, including centre-back and right-back. His ability on the ball equips him well to do this.
In the wake of a midfield injury crisis though the Robins loanee was moved into defensive midfield for the first time, playing in a 3-0 win over Motherwell.
He’s played three further games since then in that role and it’s fair to say that his needed deployment in defensive midfield has been a brilliant move.
Vyner can screen the Aberdeen back four and move the ball
In a modern CDM, you really need someone who can give the back four protection with aggressive tackling and a bit of grit. They also need to be able to link play from deep within midfield to the attacking areas.
It’s been a pleasant surprise for Derek McInnes to find out that the defender can operate in this role brilliantly. Prior to his Pittodrie switch, he had never featured in CDM (Transfermarkt).
His defensive play is excellent, bringing his centre back qualities into his midfield role with strong tackles and clearances when required. Vyner’s passing is also decent, with the ability to hit a man 40 yards away as easy as he can find someone 10 yards in front of him.
There’s an apparent ability to strike the ball from range too if his Motherwell performance is anything to go by. He stepped forward with the ball at Fir Park and slammed it into the top corner to seal a terrific win on the road.
Even his Dons teammates are enjoying his new role. Speaking after the game against Hamilton, Lewis Ferguson says Vyner is allowing him more room on the park.
The 20-year-old said: “He gives me a wee bit more freedom to push on because I know he’s always going to be there. He gives that bit of protection in front of the back four.
“It allows me to have that free role and get close to big Sam Cosgrove to try and make things happen.”
Ferguson certainly seems to be enjoying playing with Vyner behind him and he’s impressing fans with his displays too. He wasn’t signed to play in CDM, but the Robins man is making an impression in front of the Dons back four.