‘He’s got the attributes’ - Bristol City manager forecasts position change for former Man Utd talent

George Tanner was a right-midfielder at Carlisle and Manchester United, but is his future now as a centre-back?

George Tanner has been told to be prepared for playing in a new role by Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson as he bides his time for an opportunity.

Tanner has fallen down the pecking order at Ashton Gate having struggled last season with injuries, which limited him to just 13 appearances.

The former Manchester United defender joined in the summer of 2021 from Carlisle United for an undisclosed fee and is only on the fringes of the first-team squad.

Tanner has made two appearances this season, both in the Carabao Cup and against Wycombe Wanderers, he was deployed as a right sided centre-back in a back three.

"He might need to play,” manager Pearson said with an affirmed tone in his pre-match press conference before the cancelled fixture against Preston North End.

"He is a defender and if he has played at right-back or right wing-back he should understand what a centre-back does.

“He’s got the physical attributes and it’s not just about teaching players. It’s about them having the awareness about what their route into the side might be.

"Alex Scott played 37 times last year and played some as a wide midfielder, at wing-back and as a midfield. Loads of places.

"So I’m not suggesting everybody should do that but George is capable of defending so he might need to play there. He better understand what it is."

Mark Sykes - signed from Oxford United - is the preferred option at right wing-back whilst summer signing Kane Wilson is the next in line.

The 22-year-old now may face the need to make himself available as a centre-back to act as cover for Zak Vyner and any other centre-backs who could sustain an injury.

Tanner has been named on the bench seven times this season but wasn’t included in the win against Blackburn Rovers last weekend.

He did play against Sheffield Wednesday’s Under-21’s however in the centre-back role, alongside four other senior players including Timm Klose.