Dries Mertens is one of the best footballers to have worn the Napoli and Belgium jerseys in recent years. While his talent is undisputed, many have argued about the best position for the highly technical player.
Dries Mertens’ position early in his career?
Dries Mertens came up through the youth ranks at Belgium side Gent. However, he made his professional debut representing the Dutch team AGOVV. Here he mostly played as a forward.
Future transfers Utrecht, PSV Eindhoven, and selection into the Belgium national team meant that Dries Mertens’ role was changed. He was mostly used, especially by manager Dick Advocaat, in an attacking midfielder role.
Dries Mertens and his preferred position at Napoli
When he joined Napoli, Mertens’ immediately made a name for himself because of his tremendous dribbling skills, speed, and freekick-taking ability. The player was used mostly as a midfielder, occasionally playing in an attacking winger position.
During the 2016/17 season, Napoli faced a selection crisis following the departure of Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus and the injury of other players. Maurizio Sarri, the manager at the time, opted to use Mertens in a forward position. The gamble paid off with Mertens becoming one of the best center-forwards in Serie A.
Dries Mertens’ role for the 2020/21 seosn
Dries Mertens has been out of contention this season due to injury. In previous games, he was used alternatively in a central midfielder, center-forward, or winger position.
While remarkable in front of goal, Mertens seemed the most comfortable as a winger. This is also the role he is currently used in for the Belgium national side and the one he’s said suits him best.
Whatever the position in which his talent will be utilized for Napoli, it is clear that Dries Mertens is one of Partenopei’s greatest players in recent years.