Liverpool defender Skrtel: I began career as midfielder

Martin Skrtel admits he didn't kickoff his career in defence.

Martin Skrtel admits he didn't kickoff his career in defence.

The Liverpool and Slovakia stopper actually started his professional career in midfield and had to persuade his club boss to move him back after impressing defensively on international duty.

"With time my position on the football pitch changed. I was a forward as a child but in my teens I became a holding midfielder," he explained to the official Liverpool FC magazine.

"It wasn't until I was 17 that I first played as a defender. I was in a tournament with Slovakia and in the previous game our two regular central defenders got injured and suspended.

"The coach was looking at who could replace them and he came to me. I didn't see it as a problem but only a short-term solution. But I did well, the team won 4-0 against Portugal and I stayed there.

"I carried on playing as a holding midfielder for my club team, though, and after two or three months I asked the manager if I could play centre-back because I felt it fitted me better. He agreed.

"I've been a centre-back for 10 years now, nearly five of them in England. I've played against many tough opponents. Thierry Henry was very difficult. Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney are also tough, as well as Peter Crouch. More recently, Christian Benteke was very good."

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