Marco Silva's 'almost perfect' verdict shows how Steve Cooper will use Bobby De Cordova-Reid

Marco Silva has praised Bobby De Cordova-Reid as "tactically almost perfect"
-Credit: (Image: Ryan Browne/REX/Shutterstock)


Playing under Steve Cooper at Leicester City is “the perfect fit” for new signing Bobby De Cordova-Reid, and it’s easy to see why.

There’s a strong chance Cooper will introduce a back-three system at City, one he utilised to guide Nottingham Forest to promotion and then turned to on occasion in the Premier League. In that formation, there is fluidity in the front three.

While the back three, two wing-backs and two central midfielders provided a consistent base, Cooper regularly changed the configuration of the front three. In the Championship, he opted for a number 10 behind two strikers. In the Premier League, one of those strikers would be comfortable playing out wide, and so could drift to the flank, a role taken on by Brennan Johnson and then Anthony Elanga.

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There were other points where Cooper played narrow, with two attacking midfielders behind a striker. Sometimes it was a standard front three, with two wingers and a sole frontman.

That’s where De Cordova-Reid comes in. Because no matter what shape Cooper goes for, he fits into all of those positions.

In his time at Fulham, the Jamaica international has played on the wing, behind the striker, or up front. On occasion, he was even drafted in at right-back.

It was easy to move him around the pitch, Fulham boss Marco Silva said, because he had such a good tactical understanding of the game. Whatever the manager wants, De Cordova-Reid can deliver.

“Tactically, Bobby is almost perfect,” Silva said last year. “His game understanding is really good. He understands what the team needs.

“The Premier League is not just individual quality. It’s the understanding from a tactical point of view. Bobby can understand all of these situations. Sometimes it doesn’t show in the highlights. He’s scored some important goals but in all moments, he’s important.

“Bobby’s knowledge about the game is really, really good. He can play in so many positions, and he can play well in them. Sometimes as a right-back if he has to, or as a winger or behind the striker, his more natural position.

“Bobby may not look it, but he is one of the guys with leadership. He doesn’t need to be vocal. He’s important in our squad. That’s why I made him one of the group captains.”

De Cordova-Reid was in the Fulham squad for every Premier League match last season, and Silva nearly always turned to him, starting him in 17 games, and substituting him on in 16.

There was only once where he completed 90 minutes though. Although the 31-year-old thinks he’s got the versatility to stay on, knowing he can adapt to any changes in shape.

De Cordova-Reid said at the start of the year: “I think it’s good for the manager because he may not have to make a sub – he can just move me around different positions. I consider myself a good listener, so when we’re doing tactics I understand what different roles need, and I think the manager understands that and has trust in me.

“He (Silva) has trusted me to do a lot of roles and trusts me on the pitch as a leader. I’m thankful for that and I want to keep repaying him with good performances.”

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