Versatility is key to Hartlepool defender Michael Duckworth

Michael Duckworth in action against Carlisle United. Picture by FRANK REID
Michael Duckworth in action against Carlisle United. Picture by FRANK REID

Michael Duckworth believes his versatility is a good thing despite Hartlepool United boss Ronnie Moore calling on him to nail down a position.

The 23-year-old has endured a tough second season in professional football after bursting onto the scene last year.

I think the flexibility can certainly help me

Michael Duckworth

Duckworth is a right back by trade but Moore moved him to right wing-back and also left wing-back as Pools finally produced a run of form to end the season with their league status intact.

But Moore has, at times, been critical of the York-born player, calling on him to decide once and for all if he wants to be a defender or an attacker.

Duckworth, though, is happy to play wherever – as long as he is in the team.

“We’ll have to see pre-season what formation the gaffer wants to play,” Duckworth told SportMail.

“I do prefer it on the right-hand side – right back or right-wing back – but I’ll just have to see.

“But I think the flexibility can certainly help me.

“We have played 3-5-2 and also a flat back four this season.

“I can adapt and have done all season, I have played right and left but I am quite versatile.”

Attack minded Duckworth was a revelation in his debut campaign, bombing forward at every opportunity after signing on a free from Bradford Park Avenue.

But his second season at The Vic has been a turbulent one as Pools struggled against relegation before escaping the threat of the drop in the final few weeks of the campaign.

Speaking in April, Moore said he “can’t win” as when he played Duckworth in the right wing-back role he has struggled to bomb forward and get crosses in.

Yet, when he was named at right-back slot in a flat back four, he spends more time in the opposition’s half.

Duckworth finished the season strongly, scoring a wonder goal in the 3-3 draw at Carlisle United, and Pools exercised the option to extend his contract ahead of the 2015-16 campaign.