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The bigger picture

"United's players are being taught to be aware of the bigger picture, in tune with what is happening all over the pitch. Sometimes it might be as cover, other times as an absolute emergency, but everybody has the skill-set to adapt to different positions and the team, as a whole, can only benefit."

Adam Marshall, ManUtd.com

Post your views | Warren Joyce interview

07/10/2011 09:30, Report by Adam Marshall
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Blog: Viva versatility!

Tunnicliffe, who is cutting his teeth on loan at Peterborough, also feels his game has benefited from his upbringing at Carrington. "I played right-back a few times for the older ages and sometimes for the Reserves when they needed someone there," he recalled.

"It's more strings to your bow if you can play there. If someone in the first-team is injured and they need a right-back, you can get in. Chris Smalling's shown it's not always bad to change position. But, as a midfielder, I think it's about learning as well. Now I know if our full-back's in a two versus one, I need to help him out. He can't just do it on his own. I see that as a midfielder now and try to get across to help him out otherwise it could be bad for us."

And that last comment hits the nail on the head. United's players are being taught to be aware of the bigger picture, in tune with what is happening all over the pitch. Sometimes it might be as cover, other times as an absolute emergency, but everybody has the skill-set to adapt to different positions and the team, as a whole, can only benefit.

As Tunnicliffe suggests, there is also a greater empathy with colleagues who find themselves needing support, so the desire to spot the danger and assist becomes intuitive. A follower of mine on Twitter wondered if it was becoming a case of square pegs for round holes at United. With all the work being undertaken on the training ground, I'd suggest that's far from the truth. This appears to be part of a grand plan, a philosophy even, that will stand the champions in good stead for many years to come.

The views expressed in this article are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Manchester United.

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