Schrock thrives in shock-troop role | Inquirer Sports
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Schrock thrives in shock-troop role

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 10:05 PM October 12, 2015
Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

MANAMA—It took a trip to Pyongyang to finally maximize all of Stephan Schrock’s prodigious talents for the Philippine Azkals.

Schrock had been in and out of the squad since last year, when coach Thomas Dooley took over the coaching job.

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The Bundesliga veteran struggled with injuries in the AFC Challenge Cup and then clashed with Dooley in the second half of the year that led to his exile from the team.

Reconciling with the coach, Schrock was recalled to the side but limped off 20 minutes into the duel with Bahrain last June in Bulacan and missed the clash with Yemen five days later due to an injured knee.

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He showed glimpses of his abilities again last September, scoring the lone goal in the 1-5 loss to Uzbekistan after coming in as a substitute.

But with striker Javier Patiño sidelined by a hamstring injury, the Azkals needed a player with pace and guile to play up front.

Dooley thought about playing Phil Younghusband back into his old position, but the skipper has settled at midfield, forming a dynamic duo with Manny Ott. Dooley eventually put Schrock in Patiño’s position.

It turned out to be a wise decision as Schrock constantly threatened as a striker in the scoreless draw against North Korea in Pyongyang.

Schrock is expected to play the same position when the Azkals shoot for another victory against Bahrain on Tuesday at National Stadium in Riffa.

The position allows Schrock some creative freedom and partly shields him from defensive responsibility.

The Filipino-German would have been effective playing on the flanks as well, but the position requires some positional discipline as imposed by Dooley, something that Schrock has struggled with since he likes to be in the thick of the action at all times.

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“I like it and I think for those games (like in North Korea) I can fit in very well,” Schrock said, referring to his role. “But I can play any position as long as I can help the team.”

Dooley said Schrock’s abilities to take on defenders and because of his ability to shoot from long range make him a dangerous player up front.

“We can always count on Stephan to do something special for the team,” said Dooley.

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TAGS: Azkals, Football, North Korea, Philippines, Pyongyang, Stephan Schrock, Thomas Dooley, World Cup Qualifying
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