The right PNE role for versatile Jack

Heads up: Jack King goes up for a header against Sheffield United
Heads up: Jack King goes up for a header against Sheffield United
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Jack King’s football education went along another avenue at the weekend when he turned out on the right side of Preston North End’s midfield.

You’re never quite sure where the 27-year-old is going to pop up next when you see his name on the team sheet.

The wide midfield role was the fifth different position he’s played in for North End since his summer arrival.

While centre midfield is the slot he prefers, King has felt comfortable in all the areas of the pitch he’s been asked to go in this season.

“Right midfield was a new one for me on Saturday,” King told the Evening Post and he reflected on his selection against Sheffield United.

“I’ve now played up front, in the middle, out wide, centre of defence and right-back this season.

“But I’m happy to play anywhere when it comes to helping the team out.

“Playing on the right of midfield in Saturday’s game was something we’d worked on in training.

“We were aware of a lack of height in United’s line-up at left-back and centre-half.

“Unfortunately, it was something which we didn’t really capitalise on.

“I was pleased enough with my performance but we all felt flat in the dressing room afterwards.

“Playing out wide on the right, I bring different qualities than for example Jeffrey Monakana does.

“A lot of teams are aware of Jeffrey’s pace and have tended to try and double up on him.

“I’m never going to beat five or six players with a mazy run, but I feel I can offer something different.

“Maybe I can add more of a goal threat and more link-up play.

“If you put me on the spot, I’d say that central midfield, attacking, is my favourite position.

“I like to do both sides of the game – tackle and head the ball, but also pass it and get forward.

“Wherever the manager sees fit to play me, I’ll do that.

“Playing in different positions is something I see as adding another string to my bow, it can help develop my game.

“The manager has spoken with me about being a centre-half in the long term.

“In this league there would be a lot for me to learn about playing there every week.

“With me stepping-up so many levels as I have done in joining Preston, it might be that he feels I’m not quite ready for that yet.

“Midfield is where I have the most experience during my career.

“I’ve probably played 10-12 games at centre-back, two at right-back and now this right midfield role.

“Some things are new to me, others are not.

“We have a number of players here who can play in different positions.

“Our squad isn’t massive but it’s versatile and means we can comfortably change formations during the course of a game.

“We changed two or three times on Saturday from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 and back again.”

North End return to action against Scunthorpe at Glanford Park tonight.

It’s a quick chance to bounce back from the 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United.

So far this season, they haven’t suffered back-to-back league defeats, and hopefully such a sequence can continue in North Lincolnshire.

King said: “There’s a good strength of character in the dressing room, it’s a great set of lads, and we’ll want to get back to winning ways straight away.

“We had the chance to rest on Sunday before coming back to training yesterday.

“It’s important we learn lessons from the Sheffield United game.

“We were disappointed on Saturday to have seen plenty of the ball but not taken advantage of that.

“Give credit to them for their performance, but I felt we should have done better.

“We aren’t in fear of anyone we play and we weren’t dominated by United.

“They’re going to be up there at the end of the season and we want to be above them.

“We go again tonight and hopefully we can give the fans a victory.”