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Rocco Cammisola On June - 21 - 2011

Team Of The Season Winners: Left-Back

All week we will be unveiling the winners of our Team of the Year voting with a mixture of regular and guest writers. Here’s Rocco Cammisola on a suprising choice.

Some players can go an entire season unnoticed, but they put their fair share of effort and work rate in. The results are positive and they develop both on and off the field. These silent partners in football’s team game will rarely win a game for your side, but they will certainly never lose a game for your team.

It can be difficult to understand the importance and qualities required of a good full back. There have been a number of more than capable left backs in Serie A this season; Balzaretti, Armero and Nagatomo have shone in the, traditionally, more attack minded of the full back positions. Yet the people’s choice for left back of the season has been Lazio’s Stefan Radu.

Stefan Radu joined Lazio from, home town club, Dinamo Bucaresti in 2008. When he arrived he was – and still is, to an extent – considered the ‘new Chivu’ by a section of the Romanian press. It didn’t take him too long to establish himself as a first team player in Rome – for a short period he had even consigned Aleksander Kolarov to the bench.

His nadir moment came in the Rome derby. Completely losing his head in the heat of a moment and head butting Fabio Simplicio – after a 6/7 yard run up – during a dead ball situation and metres away from the assistant referee. This smudge on his disciplinary record shouldn’t detract from a season of great improvement.

His 26 league appearances this season have been a vital part of Lazio’s push into Europe. The summer departure of Kolarov has seen Radu show plenty of tactical adaptability, having moved to left full back in a back four rather than the left sided player in a back three. While he hasn’t shown the same attacking gusto as his right sided counterpart, Stephan Lichtsteiner, the Romanian has chosen the moment to advance prudently.

A broken vertebrae and the death of his father cast a sombre shadow over the end of his season, but the club have recognised the value of his contribution and rewarded the twenty four year old with a contract that runs until 2016.

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Rocco Cammisola

Rocco is a football writer who follows football in England and Italy for a number of sites, including his own - The Football Express ( Most of his writing focuses on the lesser talked about teams, attempting to bring them to the world's attention.

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One Response so far.

  1. Ted says:

    Good choice.

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