Sunday October 29 2017
Mertens, a year as a centre-forward

Dries Mertens has been playing as a centre-forward at Napoli for precisely one year, scoring 41 goals in 51 games.

The little Belgian was a winger for most of his career, making 148 appearances for the Partenopei and finding the net 38 times.

Since Arkadiusz Milik’s first ACL injury in September 2016, Mertens was moved into a new emergency role as an unlikely centre-forward.

He was first used here as a substitute for Manolo Gabbiadini against Roma, then made his genuine hitman debut when facing Empoli on October 26, 2016.

It proved a masterstroke by Coach Maurizio Sarri, as Mertens has been practically unstoppable ever since.

He has played in that position 51 times in all competition, scoring 41 goals.

Today against Sassuolo will be the 200th appearance in a Napoli jersey for Mertens.

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