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Three reasons why Zidane might refuse to play Theo as a left-back

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Does he trust his defensive skills?

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Theo Hernandez has played only a few minutes in his natural left-back position ever since he signed for Real Madrid this past summer. The young defender was excellent in that spot for Alaves last season but coach Zinedine Zidane has used him in the midfield quite often. But why?

  1. Zidane might believe Theo can be better as an attacker. Remember Gareth Bale? He started his career being a left-back until Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas decided to deploy him as an attacker, where he showed his true potential. Theo is a similar player and while he lacks a bit of the skills needed to be an attacker now, his speed and power with the ball on his feet could be useful if he finally becomes a winger.
  2. Theo might not be reliable defensively just yet. Zidane is the one coaching this team every single day and Theo might have shown the French coach that he isn’t ready to be a quality defender against decent opponents. Theo will be given the chance to start as a left-back every now and then, though.
  3. Zidane sees him as a left-back but tries something special with his substitutions. The match against Malaga wasn’t the first time that Zidane replaced a midfielder and entered Theo Hernandez. He might still think that Theo is a pure defender and make that substitution in order to deploy the young player on the wing anyway. It’s strange because it sends a strong defensive message to the squad, but at least Real Madrid protected their lead.