Jeremie Bela has enjoyed an excellent start to the new campaign, starting all five of Birmingham’s opening games.
The 28-year-old joined Birmingham City in 2019 and has made 75 appearances for the midlands club since his debut in the November of that month.
In a Championship career that has predominantly involved around operating as a left-winger, the Angolan international has been deployed in a wing-back role under Lee Bowyer this season.
Bowyer’s tendency to operate with a five-at-the-back system means that Bela has been playing in a deeper role than what he has been used to throughout his career.
Speaking to Birmingham Live, Lee Bowyer addressed Bela’s form in an unfamiliar wing-back role: “At the moment Bela is playing in a position he has never played before but he is playing really well.
“My thinking behind it is that he is obviously good in the final third, he puts balls into the box which we need for players like Jutkiewicz. His delivery, set-pieces, and things like that, which are just as important.
“And I know I can trust him defensively, he showed me that the first game I took over against Reading. He was tracking the full-back all night long and he never let us down once.
“So I know he can do that side of the game as well.”
Bela has enjoyed an excellent start to the season, registering three assists in the club’s opening five games.
The wing-back is a completely different role for him, with the vast majority of his appearances during his career coming from the wing
However, it is a tactical decision that seems to be paying off, with Bela still posing as much of an attacking threat, whilst also adding a defensive element to his game.
The fact that Bowyer trusts him in that role is an excellent thing for Bela to hear, and there is no reason why this tactical decision cannot continue to work.