Coach Stuart Baxter may not have had the best of seasons in managing his striking department, despite winning the Absa Premiership title. Baxter addressed this issue in the best way that he could, even if it meant fielding a striker who created more goals for his midfielders.
Yes, I am talking about Baxter making it no secret that he liked utilising former striker Kingston Nkhatha as a number nine who worked more off the ball than on it.
This role was then later coined as the ‘Nkhatha Role’. Now with Baxter giving striker Mathew Rusike a starting berth more often in recent times, could he be used in a role of his own?
Much like Nkhatha, Rusike never stops running. Not only does he have the legs to keep on running, he has the physicality to compete with the strongest of defenders in the Premier Soccer League.
In our most recent fixture against Polokwane City a couple of days ago, Rusike stood out in a 4-0 victory which saw him net a brace late in the second-half, following a rather frustrating first-half of missed chances.
Let’s not forget that Rusike is a winger by trade, so running up and down the flanks should come natural to him. This requires stamina and that was something Nkhatha had in abundance. Going into next season, Baxter may be grooming Rusike into playing in a similar role to that of Nkhatha.
It will be interesting to see if this is the role Rusike will be assigned to do, but what we do know is that Baxter likes him very much.
Baxter recently revealed that he chooses Rusike because of his character, suggesting that he is the type of player who never gives up, a certain characteristic Nkhatha also possessed.
Do you think Baxter should give Rusike a role of his own in the starting XI?