One of the biggest surprises from Stefano Pioli’s very bold starting line-up for the game against Inter is the decision to play Junior Messias as a midfielder.
Instead of using either Tommaso Pobega or Aster Vranckx alongside Sandro Tonali and Rade Krunic in the three-man midfield, Pioli opted to put the Brazilian in the role of being a box-to-box player, therefore expected to contribute in both phases.
However, it is not a role he is totally unfamiliar with. As Transfermarkt outline, he played as a right winger, attacking midfielder and as a second striker during his time with Crotone, but he actually made 24 of his 73 competitive appearances for them as a central midfielder.
His record in the role isn’t too bad either, as he amassed four goals and four assists in those games, which means a goal contribution every three games on average. Doing it against Inter tonight however is a different thing.