Stefano Pioli’s switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation has brought about a change in the fortunes of Hakan Calhanoglu in his new role as a playmaker.
As Tuttosport notes (via MilanNews.it), not only Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ante Rebic are benefitting from the new system deployed by the Rossoneri had coach, as Calhanoglu has finally returned to the position he prefers most – in behind the strikers.
The 26-year-old has struggled for consistency thus far during his three seasons in Milan, and is so far struggling to justify the €20m that Fassone and Mirabelli spent to sign him from Leverkusen in 2017.
Calhanoglu has so far forged a reputation of inconsistency, alternating impeccable performances with others that were decidedly average or worst.
However, with him now playing between the lines and thanks to his application in the defensive phase, he is also the first tool of Pioli’s high press.
In short, he is now a factor in both phases of the game and is a guarantee of running, intensity and tactical awareness. In a word: balance.