ESPN: Musah plays ‘much further back’ for USA and ‘seemed comfortable’

By Oliver Fisher -

Some interesting indications arrived from Yunus Musah while he was on international duty with the United States, according to reports.

Musah was one of the last signings of Milan’s summer transfer campaign and he arrived to complete a department that had seen Sandro Tonali, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Aster Vranckx leave while Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tijjani Reijnders arrived.

Musah was purchased from Valencia as a luxury reserve for the midfield, but right from the start there were some doubts about his position, namely whether he is better as a box-to-box midfielder or as a more traditional No.6.

In the first three games of the season it seems Pioli sees him as the former, i.e. as a replacement for Loftus-Cheek as the right-sided mezzala, at least while waiting for Ismael Bennacer’s recovery from injury, while Rade Krunic’s reserve appears to be Yacine Adli.

Last night, Musah started for the USA national team, playing all 90 minutes. According to what was reported by the renowned sports information site ESPN (via Radio Rossonera), Musah played a good game in an intriguing role.

“He positioned himself much further back than he usually does for the United States and seemed comfortable in this role,” they said.

It is an interesting indication for Pioli, who could therefore consider using the former Arsenal academy man a bit deeper, but the level of opponent must be taken into regard.

Tags AC Milan Yunus Musah


        1. He was excellent against England in the WC. He is still raw at 20 but has got the toolkit necessary to be an excellent DM. Strong on the ball, very fast recovery speed, and good in the air.

          1. “He is still raw at 20…”

            This. CDM is a tough position and the kid is just getting started. He’s not even meant to be a starter this season, as he’s got Bennacer and Krunic ahead of him at CDM, and Reijnders, RLC and even Pobega ahead of him as mezzale if they choose to use him more as a box to box role. It’s absurd to criticize Musah in this situation.

    1. Specifically, in the 2022 WC match against England, Musah completely shut down Jude Bellingham, who is now tearing it up in La Liga.
      Musah’s got the tools to play defense, and from what I’ve seen, he’s actually much better when he’s just given this simple instruction to shut down any offensive threats from the other team, because he has all the physical skills to do this, and he does this well.
      Mentally, he tends to be a bit lost figuring out where to go and how to make himself useful when he’s given the freedom to play the box to box role, and can sometimes disappear.
      So, yeah, I think he actually is more of a natural defensive midfielder mentally – he’s got the physical tools to roam and progress the ball in a box to box role, but he hasn’t quite figured out how to be really effective with his positioning yet.

      1. “Mentally, he tends to be a bit lost figuring out where to go and how to make himself useful when he’s given the freedom to play the box to box role, and can sometimes disappear.”

        where did this analysis come from? I see him finding ways to impact the game. He is definitely way more reijnders than RLC. he would go down and switch with theo so he can get up field and he could sit in the front line on the press and recover…maybe hes learning that positioning now.

        1. This is from watching Musah play since he was only 18 for the senior USMNT side, and some of his matches at Valencia.

          He’s physically extremely talented, but in the box to box role, he just sometimes goes missing in action. I think that’s mainly from his youth and lack of proper coaching instruction – Valencia were a terribly coached team (barely escaping relegation last season), and Gregg Berhalter is a terrible coach for the USMNT.

          Pioli, I expect will set him straight.

          When he’s given the defensive role with the USMNT, he’s always excelled, it’s something a lot simpler for him to figure out – like, stop this guy, this guy, and this guy, and he’ll do it.

          1. i think that’s somewhat fair. I think the problem with his time at USMNT is that he specifically has to drop so deep because wes and adams arent progressive dribblers and we dont have good distributors at the back until richards got healthy. I agree that i dont think Greg really plays modern football in a way to explain where he should be lined up in the half spaces (that man is all about crosses, someone please tell him the math). He reads the game in a way that i dont see from most players. I think if they tracked it, his scanning would be that of some of the very best in the world so its hard for me to think hes lost. i think he just needs a push to be more assertive in the final third. I think he’s in the right environment to get that training.

          2. i will also push back a bit on the defensive role. Defense is about positioning and will. Busquets frequently led the league in distance covered. Most of the work is done before the ball gets close to you, but his tackle percentage is CB level.

  1. Tyler Adams, who is the starting defensive midfielder for the USMNT, is still recovering from a hamstring injury, and so Musah has been playing this role for the USMNT in several matches now.
    He has the defensive skills to do the job and actually is better at this than when he is told to be a box to box midfielder, since he often tends to just drift around aimlessly when doing the box to box role. When he’s told to focus just on the defense, he seems to know how to do the job naturally.

    1. he has a very specific role of breaking the press when adams is in the game. That makes him have to play pretty deep. He is indeed a naturally great defender. which is why when he is able to start putting together finishes and assists, he will be a scary proposition.

  2. He is 20 and already shows he can handle the position. Thats a good sign. As the article states choose his opponents in the first year and let him get more comfortable with the position. At that young of an age he can transition in the midfield better than a player in their late 20’s

  3. He played in a midfield 3 with Malik Tillman and Weston McKinnie having license to bomb forward, which they did often. Yunus ran a lot and did a nice job plugging holes behind them, and was particularly impressive progressing the ball forward to his teammates out of the deeper position. Several times he received a ball from the backline and made an incisive pass forward to a teammate or carried the ball to make the progress. He is not without fault, but he absolutely can play in this role which looked very much like what Krunic has been assigned to do in the first few games this season.

  4. I have to watch back the game but it seems he was playing further upfield second half. Looked good but vs Oman. Shaky at times though. But the game was at a downtime when I saw it

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.