VERSATILE Newcastle star Jonas Gutierrez is studying the world’s best central midfielders in a bid to improve in his new role at the club.
The 29-year-old was signed as a winger by Kevin Keegan four years ago, and impressed fans with his ball carrying skills and hard work.
But he was deployed by boss Alan Pardew in a more central position last season, and has continued to be played in the middle of the park this term as the manager searches for his right formation.
Gutierrez admits the switch may mean he appears less “spectacular” than he has been from wide areas, but insists he is happy to do it for the team.
But, having been fielded as a winger, full-back and even a second striker during his Newcastle career, the Argentinian admits he is still adapting to the demands of a central role.
“I have never played in the centre of midfield before, or maybe I did a long time ago but not recently,” he said.
“It is something all players may have to do this season with the extra games.
“My attitude is that I try to play at least 7/10. I try to do the job the manager wants me to do. Maybe I won’t be spectacular in that role but I know that I will do a good job.
“I try to improve – when I have been given this role I try to watch other players who have played this position.
“It is the most important thing in football – you need to understand where you need to be at certain moments in the game.
“When I play left-back, central midfield, in the number 10 role, I always try to find the best position to be in.
“The biggest thing is that you need to know exactly where you should be because when you are in your normal position you do it naturally.
“So I watch the best players in the world who play in central midfield and look to them.
“I watch a lot of left-backs and central midfielders to learn about them. That is the biggest thing.”
Gutierrez, who appeared for Argentina in the last World Cup, has slipped out of the reckoning for his country in recent months, and is not part of the squad to take on Paraguay tonight and Peru on Tuesday in qualifiers for the 2014 tournament in neighbouring Brazil.
His countryman, Fabricio Coloccini, is in the squad, and will remain with the national side despite withdrawing from training on Wednesday after a right hamstring strain.