Michael O’Neill explains thinking behind shifting January signing’s role in man of the match turn against Cardiff



Michael O’Neill highlighted Jordan Thompson’s set piece delivery and his discipline in possession as he shifted the new signing into a new role.

Thompson was brought in on the left of midfield for his full Stoke City debut in the absence of James McClean and Thibaud Verlinden last week at Queens Park Rangers.

This time against Cardiff, O’Neill kept faith with the same starting XI that lost at QPR but tinkered with his tactics.

Thompson, his 23-year-old Northern Ireland international, was moved into a holding midfield role while Nick Powell moved from number 10 to the left.

He responded by sending in the corner that led to the opener – a Calum Paterson own goal – and earning the sponsor’s man of the match award.

“Well, that’s his more natural position,” said O’Neilll.

“The reason we played him on the wing last week because he was left footed and we didn’t have that many options with James and Thibaud both injured.

“Really last week we tried to play him narrow in a four with Nick Powell just in front.

“Today we changed the shape of the midfield to a one and a two and we felt we’d give Joe (Allen) and Sam (Clucas) a little bit more freedom getting forward.

“Nick gave us a shift out on the left in terms of playing narrow and I think he did very well for us.

“That’s what we need – players that will put the team ahead of themselves, maybe not in their most favoured position.

“Jordan is a young player. We knew that if we could get him on the ball because he can pass it for us and he’s important to have in the team too because his delivery from set plays is good and that’s an important part of the game.

“It was a good game by Jordan and I thought Nick Powell was very good as well.”





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