As Antoine Griezmann leads France’s charge to World Cup final here are five other strikers who switched to midfield

KYLIAN MBAPPE has once again been the star for France at the World Cup – but Antoine Griezmann has been an unsung hero for the holders.

The Atletico Madrid star has endured a testing couple of years with the goals drying up in Spain.

GettyAntoine Griezmann has been in outstanding form for France at the World Cup[/caption]

But the 31-year-old has thrived in a new-found midfield role in Qatar, helping Les Bleus reached their second consecutive final.

Griezmann is yet to score at this World Cup, but he’s bringing plenty to the side and has still chipped in with three assists – BOTH against England.

Whether or not he ends up becoming a midfielder on a regular basis remains to be seen, but his performances in the tournament have been admirable.

And here SunSport looks at five other forwards who have previously dropped back to midfield.

GettyWayne Rooney became a midfielder during his latter days at United[/caption]

Wayne Rooney

One of the finest footballers to grace the English game, Rooney is most remembered for banging in the goals for England and United.

After all, he’s United’s record scorer and is just about hanging on to his place at the top of the England charts after Harry Kane’s penalty miss against France.

But in Rooney’s final years at United, he dropped into a deeper role, which explains why his worst goal returns all came in his final three seasons.

He did make a brief return to a No.9 role at Everton and DC United, before ending his career in midfield with Derby.


News Group Newspapers LtdAlan Smith started off up front before quickly moving into a deeper role[/caption]

Alan Smith

Smith never boasted the most prolific goal record throughout his career, so it was no wonder he ended up further back.

In more than 600 games for club and country, he scored less than 75 goals and only ever hit double figures twice in a single campaign.

He still ended up winning the Premier League and was a regular in Europe for Manchester United, but he was often down the pecking order due to the calibre of strikers the Red Devils possessed.

One he left United he became an out and out midfielder and while he never reached his full potential, he ended up playing until he was 38, so he didn’t do too badly.

GettyJoelinton has thrived in a midfield role for Newcastle[/caption]


Joelinton’s rise in recent months has been one of the most incredible in recent years.

The Brazilian has quickly gone from a FLOP to one of the most popular players with the Newcastle faithful.

He arrived on Tyneside for a club-record £40m back in 2019 but fans quickly lost their patience following a dreadful first season front of goal.

In fact, Joelinton scored just THREE goals in his first 61 Prem games.

But after Eddie Howe replaced Steve Bruce, he started playing in a deeper role and has become one of the most consistent box-to-box midfield men.

As a result, he’s started pretty much every league game since and has formed a fine partnership with fellow Brazilian Bruno Guimaraes to help the Mapgies emerge as top four contenders.

Mousa Dembele became a top midfielder during his time at TottenhamGetty Images – Getty

Mousa Dembele

With 10 goals in almost 250 appearances for Tottenham, it’s hard to believe the Belgian played anywhere close to the top end of the pitch.

His exact position remains unclear, with Dembele chopping and changing between a number 10, a supportive striker and the odd appearance on the wing.

But prior to arriving in England, he regularly hit double figures, notably firing AZ Alkmaar to the title in 2008-09 with 12 goals in all comps.

That was the third time he scored 10 goals or more in four years.

Those numbers soon became a distant memory though, and he finally discovered his full potential thanks to Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentine made him one of the best central midfielders in the land and his lack of goals were hardly even mentioned.

Eidur Gudjohnsen enjoyed a successful career with Bolton, Chelsea and BarcelonaGetty Images – Getty

Eidur Gudjohnson

The fact the Iceland international played at a Euros at the grand age of 37 tells you everything you need to know about him.

He played in a variety of attacking positions during his career, mainly at Chelsea – including as a No.10, second striker and a centre forward.

But once his legs went, notably during his time at Barcelona, he started to apply himself in deeper areas of the pitch.

In fact, there were many occasions during his time at the Nou Camp when he lined up alongside legends Xavi and Andreas Iniesta.

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