Hapoel Be’er Sheva of Israel midfielder, John Ugochukwu Ogu is bound to line out in a new role in defence for the Super Eagles at this year’s World Cup, as he continues lining out in a three-man backline with the squad in training.
Ogu had a first shot in the new role during the friendly against England then, following his sterling display at Wembley, he followed up against Czech Republic last Wednesday, and looks set to repeat same in Nigeria’s group opener against Croatia.
This follows observations from the Eagles’ last training in Austria, the Super Eagles close door session, which was held in Austria before their departure to Russia.
It means the Eagles are likely to start with a 3-5-2 formation, as the technical adviser, Gernot Rohr watched the players go through paces of two selections in the session that lasted close to two hours.
Rohr had the players play against themselves in a test game and lined them up in the both system he is considering ahead of their opening game against Croatia at the World Cup.
Ogu continued in his new role as a part of the back three alongside the duo of Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong while Tyronne Ebuehi and Bryan Idowu operated as right and wing backs respectively.
Wilfred Ndidi and captain John Obi Mikel were lined up in midfield with Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo leading the line.
Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho and Simy Nwankwo formed the back bone of the team lined up in 4-3-3 alongside Kenneth Omeruo, Chidozie Awaziem, Shehu Abdullahi, Joel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi and Elderson Echiejile.
Line Up 3-5-2 – Francis Uzoho, Tyronne Ebuehi, John Ogu, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Bryan Idowu, Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses and Mikel Obi.
It was gathered further that, worried by the of his team struggling to defend properly in set piece situation, Rohr has handed special role to two of the tallest players in his team in Mikel and Ogu.
The duo have been partially responsible for the two goals Nigeria conceded from set piece in their last two friendly games, and the coach took out time to address their positioning during their close door session.
Although zonal marking has been preferred by most coaches, Rohr is not keen on going that way as he still favours the man marking style which many considered as outdated following recent developments in football.
Ogu who has been converted to a defender when the Eagles play with a back three has been mandated to pick the tallest man in the team of the opposition while Mikel will defend the first pole.
Mikel will be the Eagles first defender on the line with Ogu behind him while the central defence duo of William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun will concentrate on winning the second balls.