Borussia Mönchengladbach head coach Marco Rose is still discovering things about his new team since joining the club this summer. His latest finding is that USA international Fabian Johnson is a lethal weapon at his disposal, no matter where he plays.
Despite making over 200 appearances in the Bundesliga in his career so far, recent years haven’t been easy for the 31-year-old Johnson. The Munich-born American played only 29 times in the last two seasons due to injury and competition for places at Borussia-Park.
Most often utilised as a winger, Johnson has actually played in five different positions with varying degrees of regularity throughout his time in the Bundesliga. However, it appears that the Foals’ new coach has discovered a new role which could become Johnson’s home for the 2019/20 season.
"He’s an all-purpose weapon," Rose told German sports magazine kicker. "And it's nice that he's finding his way around the No.8 [box-to-box midfielder] position so well, and we're doing decent things in midfield despite our injuries. It's good that he's healthy again, so we have one more option in the middle."
Gladbach are currently missing the likes of captain Lars Stindl and midfielders Jonas Hofmann and Tobias Strobl through injury and Rose has had to experiment with his squad – including new signings - while being without key players.
Johnson played 81 minutes as part of a three-man midfield on Saturday as Gladbach recorded their first win over the season, a 3-1 victory away to Mainz. The American misplaced just four of his 22 attempted passes on the day and also made 11 tackles, the joint-most of any Gladbach player at the Opel-Arena.
For Johnson - who has missed 35 matches due to injury since the start of 2016/17 - the opportunity to play in midfield is the perfect chance to prove his worth to his new coach while he is fit, healthy and needed.
"Fabi is a good footballer, two-footed, and he has speed," Rose added. "All those things are good for a coach."