Billy Bodin is happy to ‘wing it’ for Preston North End
Preston frontman Billy Bodin is pleased his career has taken him into a wider role and says that is where he aims to shine for the Lilywhites.
Bodin started off playing as a striker but has gradually shifted to the wing to become effective there.
It has been on the right wing where North End boss Alex Neil has primarily used him, both before and since the knee injury which forced him to miss all of the last season.
The 27-year-old has caught the eye there this pre-season, scoring a fine goal cutting in from the wing in Saturday’s friendly with Southampton.
There was a slight scare for Bodin in last night’s 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley.
He came off within five minutes of joining the action as a substitute in the second half.
However, Neil explained that Bodin’s substitution was only precautionary having hyper-extended his knee and he was expected to be able to play in one of North End’s two friendlies against Fleetwood and Newcastle this weekend.
Bodin told the Lancashire Post: “To start with I was a striker or I played just behind as a No.10 type.
“That is where I was in my early days at Swindon.
“It was when I went out on loan a couple of times that I got put out on either the right or left wing.
“I found it comfortable when I played on the right and was able to cut inside on to my left foot, it suited me.
“When I get the ball out on the wing, my first thought is getting it into the box for one of the strikers.
“That was something I did well in the first pre-season game for Jayden Stockley.
“But having the chance to cut inside myself and have a shot is a good option to have.
“I like to score goals and I’ll always look to try and get into the box.
“Nowadays I’ll class myself more as a wide striker rather than out-and-out No.9.”
Bodin got his goal account in pre-season up and running against AFC Fylde.
Then came his one against Southampton, which was the high point of the game for North End.
“It was a good goal and very nice to score it,” said Bodin.
“Tom Clarke took a throw-in to me and my intention was to play it back to him and we’d build from there.
“But a couple of defenders read my thoughts and looked to stop that happening.
“That gave me a little bit of room to turn and go between them into the box. There was a bit of a nutmeg on the centre-half and space opened up nicely.
“I managed to get the ball on to my left foot and put it in the far corner.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get the ball in that same area too often again in the game.”
The Southampton game was Bodin’s first appearance at Deepdale for almost a year.
He last played in a friendly against Burnley on July 23 last year, that coming three days after scoring a spectacular goal against West Ham.
Said Bodin: “It was nice to play at home again, it had been a year because of the injury.
“I suppose it was a bit weird scoring two good goals like I did a year apart at Deepdale.
“Hopefully there are more to come this season.”