Tom Barkhuizen glad to be back in attacking role for Preston North End after playing as a wing-back

Tom Barkhuizen was pleased to be back playing as a striker in Preston North End’s clash with Manchester City.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 8:00 am

For the previous friendlies, Barkhuizen had operated as a wing-back, more so to help the squad out and get fitness into the legs, rather than Frankie McAvoy seeing it as his best position.

The 28-year-old was paired with Ched Evans against City, the idea to combine Evans’ hold-up play with Barkhuizen’s pace.

He hopes more chances come his way at the top end of the pitch as he gets ready to start his sixth season at PNE.

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Preston’s Tom Barkhuizen challenges Manchester City midfielder Iker Pozo (photo: Getty Images)

Barkhuizen told the Lancashire Post: “Frankie has said that he would rather play me further forward.

“I’ve probably been playing wing-back in pre-season because of the numbers and trying to give people fair minutes on the pitch. Matty Olosunde has been injured as well so I’ve been filling in.

“I’ve said before I would rather play further forward and I think Ched and myself complement each other well.

“Against City we got in a few times although it was tough trying to get people up with us because we had been defending so much.

“The foundations are there as a decent partnership from my point of view and hopefully Frankie sees that.”

Barkhuizen felt the City game was a good workout for PNE despite losing 2-0.

The hosts’ first-half team contained some key names from Pep Guardiola’s senior squad, before they changed over to an academy-based XI for the second 45 minutes.

Said Barkhuizen: “We gave a good account of ourselves, I know we didn’t score but we created a couple of chances and limited them – as good a side as they are – to not much.

“To start with they had the best centre-half in the world at the moment (Ruben Dias), the right-back (Joao Cancelo) was in the team of the year, Nathan Ake cost £40m and Benjamin Mendy £50m.

“Fernandinho who has played for them for 10 years or whatever it is, was in front of the defence.

“Riyad Mahrez is a top-class winger, so it was a strong side they started with.

“We had to sit off them at times but we also pressed well in stages. It was a good run out, good for the legs.”

Barkhuizen had a chance to score in the first half when Brad Potts’ ball from the back played him in behind the City defence but goalkeeper Zack Steffan charged out of the box to slide-tackle him.

“I gave the keeper a quick look and he sort of threatened to tackle me on my first touch,” said Barkhuizen.

“So I took a bigger touch to try and take it round him.

“He showed his quality and stayed until I had taken my touch, then he made the tackle.”