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Head coach Julian Nagelsmann says Kingsley Coman prefers to play centrally for Bayern Munich

Is Kingsley Coman a natural winger? Not so fast, says his head coach.

Ryan Gravenberch, Kingsley Coman (white jerseys) stand next to Mathys Tel, Tanguy Nianzou (orange) as they look on during a training session.
Fitting in.
Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern

Everybody wants to play centrally, it seems. If you’ve played pickup soccer you’ve likely seen a field dotted with #10 jerseys, and numerous Bayern Munich players sometimes deployed on the wing — from Thomas Müller to Leroy Sané to Serge Gnabry — have expressed their greater comfort in front of goal. The youth setup is full of attacking midfielders as well. Now, according to coach Julian Nagelsmann, you can add Kingsley Coman to the list.

“He fits very well into our concept,” Nagelsmann said in Friday’s pre-game press conference (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “If you ask him, he’s not a winger, he likes to play centrally. But that goes for everyone and it starts when you’re young. But he can also play on the wings. For me it is important how he trains.”

Bayern are preparing to travel to take on VfL Bochum this Sunday in Bundesliga action, with revenge on their mind after a 4-2 humiliation the last time these two teams faced off. It will be Coman’s first opportunity to start for Bayern in the Bundesliga this season, and one of Nagelsmann’s two central attacking midfield spots is where he’ll most likely slot in.

“He also gave his all outside of team training and trained incredibly well,” Nagelsmann confirmed. “He has a great quality that we don’t want to do without. He’s definitely a candidate to start Sunday.”

Coman has played on the wings throughout his Bayern career. It may be the case that he prefers the left, where he can cut inside from his strong foot — but that wouldn’t seem to be the same as starting and playing centrally. He might be Bayern’s truest, most natural winger, at least by reputation. And last year, he was often tasked with providing width, taking on either left or right fullback one-on-one.

But Nagelsmann is a coach whose tactical priority is working the inside channels, the half-spaces where you can create rapid, direct initiatives on goal. With not one but two positions largely dedicated to this task, there’s room for all these attacking midfielders to play, and Coman is apparently the next. He’s already looked solid from the spot in his substitute appearance in the DFL-Supercup (check our article there for some screenshots to highlight it!) and it’s good news that the coaching staff feels he’s a natural fit, too.

Sunday’s game against Bochum will likely be a full preview of what Nagelsmann is seeing of Coman’s central qualities in training. For a player looking to take the final steps to becoming a “big, big player” and a shout for the best in the world, this season has the chance to be a showcase.

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