We often see full backs who struggle defensively end up playing higher up the pitch so their flaws aren’t exposed, so it makes sense that centre backs might do the same.
Sometimes it can even be tempting to play a promising centre back in a midfield role to help them adjust to playing senior football, but it also means they aren’t the last line of defence so they can relax a bit more.
You could definitely argue that their development as a defender could be stunted by playing them further forward, but versatility isn’t a bad thing either.
Ethan Ampadu has forced his way into the fringes of the Chelsea first team as a centre back, but this report suggests the might play a slightly different role as he prepares to go out on loan:
Ethan Ampadu: Norwich City would’ve loved to loan him in for next season. DM role plus CB cover. But it isn’t going to happen.
— Michael Bailey (@michaeljbailey) August 9, 2020
That clearly suggests that he’s seen as a defensive midfielder who can also play in defence, but it’s not clear if it’s Chelsea or Norwich who had that opinion.
A loan spell at Fulham could be a great chance for him to shine, but you do have to wonder if the Championship move may have been more beneficial.
He would be much more likely to play, whilst he would also play under similar conditions to those at Chelsea – he’d see a lot of the ball and winning every week is a must.
Battling relegation with Fulham will give him a very different experience, but if he plays regularly then it could be a good thing for him too.