BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Selangor and Malaysia U22's Adam Nor Azlin is lucky.
Any striker with only one goal to their name after half a season can expect themselves to be relegated to the bench by the head coach, reduced to hoping for a second chance to prove themselves, something that may never come.
Adam, who has failed to find the back of the net since his goal in Selangor's season opener against Pulau Pinang back in January, has instead be given another role at club and country.
In Selangor's friendly against MISC-MIFA last month, the 21-year old forward was fielded as a centre back by head coach Maniam Pachaiappan, when the reserve players were subbed on for the first eleven. And it seems that the role change was not a one-off thing.
When he received Dato' Ong Kim Swee's Malaysia U22 call-up earlier this month, he trained with the Young Tigers as a centre back as well.
The change should not come as a surprise to those who have been following his career. After all, before joining Selangor at the start of the 2016 season, he has played in that position a number of times for Malaysia U19, and the now-defunct Harimau Muda as well.
When met by Goal the day before Malaysia U22 departed for China last Thursday, Adam revealed that his role change at club and country looks to be permanent, although he still prefers to play as a striker, if given the choice.
"This looks to be a permanent change, as I need to commit to one specific role. But if I were given the choice, I hope I can return to the midfield or striker position.
"However, looking at how things are going, coaches Maniam and Ong want me to play as a centre back, as they've observed that I am more comfortable there.
"The coaches know better, so I have to be here," explained Adam.
Apart from the role change, another adjustment that he can expect to face when he returns to Selangor at the end of this month, after the end of Malaysia U22's training camp and series of friendlies, is the introduction of a new formation by Maniam.
Earlier this week, the Selangor boss revealed that he would use the current one-month break from domestic competitions to work on the 4-2-3-1 formation with his side.
He however expressed his worry that the progress maybe hindered by the absence of five of his men, including Adam; who are away with the senior and junior national teams.
When inquired about this, Adam responded that he has no other choice but to catch up quickly upon his return.
"For me, I do have concerns that I may fail to familiarise myself with the changes quickly.
"But that should not be a problem. Even if I have only one or two weeks to familiarise myself (with the new formation) with the coach's help, I have to catch up as quickly as possible," he vowed.
Asked about Malaysia U22's chances in the coming U23 AFC Championship qualifiers in July, and the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August, the youngster expressed his belief in the team's ability to go far in both competitions, if they handle the pressure well.
"Judging by yesterday's friendly (1-1 draw against Felda United), I am confident we can go far in the AFC (U23 AFC Championship qualifiers) and the SEA Games.
"The home support (at SEA Games) is an advantage, but it also can turn negative. After all, the football gold medal is the most-coveted of all gold medals.
"There will be pressure when playing as the hosts in front of a massive crowd, especially when we are still relatively inexperienced as U22 players.
"But if we can turn the negative pressure into something positive, we can go far in the SEA Games," he said.
Adam and Malaysia U22 are currently in China until June 16. They lost 1-0 in their friendly against China U22 on Saturday, and will next play the reserve teams of Chinese Super League sides Guangzhou R&F (June 11) and Guangzhou Evergrande (June 13).