Adopted in grace, Kökcü has not yet reclaimed his starting spot at Benfica

As announced, Orkun Kökcü returns to Benfica's match squad, but he will start on the bench against Chaves. The former Feyenoord player was previously removed from the squad following a critical interview.

Adopted in grace, Kökcü has not yet reclaimed his starting spot at Benfica Embed from Getty Images

Expanding on the news about Orkun Kökcü's situation at Benfica, the midfielder's complaints about being overloaded with tactical instructions from coach Roger Schmidt have been a significant talking point.

Kökcü's frankness in a recent interview led to his temporary exclusion from the team, highlighting the tension between his understanding of his role on the pitch and the coach's strategy. Schmidt's decision not to field Kökcü in the match against Casa Pia was portrayed as a cooling-off period, allowing for reflection and dialogue.

The subsequent discussion between Kökcü and Schmidt appears to have mended fences, at least to the extent of reintegrating Kökcü into the squad. However, his return to action starts from the bench, signaling that while reconciliation might have been achieved, Kökcü has yet to fully regain his coach's trust to be in the starting eleven.

Against Chaves, a critical game given Chaves' struggle at the bottom of the Primeira Liga, Schmidt is taking a cautious approach by selecting a solid midfield duo of João Neves and Florentino. This choice suggests a strategic play to dominate the midfield and perhaps a test for Kökcü, observing how the team functions without him as a starter.

Fredrik Aursnes, a fellow former Feyenoord player, does find himself in the starting lineup, indicating that Schmidt values his adaptability and performance. Aursnes' repositioning to play behind former Ajax winger David Neres is another tactical adjustment by Schmidt, showcasing his intent to tweak the team's dynamics and create new opportunities from the flanks.

This situation underscores the complex dynamics within professional football teams, where management decisions, player performance, and interpersonal relations all intersect. Kökcü's phased return to the pitch could be seen as a moment of professional growth, both for him and for the team's collective chemistry. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to observe how this experience impacts Kökcü's role at Benfica and whether this episode will lead to a stronger bond between player and coach or if further challenges lie ahead.

Updated: 05:49, 29 Mar 2024

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