Over the past decade, one of the most dependable and reliable players for Lazio was Senad Lulic. The left-wing back played a predominant role for the Biancocelesti as he was the captain, provided several quality performances and was heavily relied upon by several managers; most notably, previous Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi.
During Inzaghi’s five seasons as manager with Lazio, they played in the 3-5-2 formation and the left wing-back position was a weakness as it had minimal depth. Lulic played 35 or more games in all competitions in three of his five seasons under Inzaghi, clearly outlining the fact that the Bosnian never had a reliable backup.
Failing to Properly Address the Left Flank & the Rise of Adam Marusic
The Biancocelesti’s search for a successor to Lulic had always been a priority; however, it was one that management failed to address accordingly time and time again. Riza Durmisi, Jordan Lukaku, Jony and Mohamed Fares are the four players who were scouted by Igli Tare to reinforce the left flank; however, they failed to be a serviceable backup to Lulic.
As a result of being overused, Lulic picked up a serious injury back in February 2020. Lazio’s preferred choice at left wing-back was sidelined for a total of 342 days, missing not only the second half of the 2019/20 season but also the bulk of the 2020/21 campaign. Furthermore, Fares went down with various injuries and also missed significant time, forcing Inzaghi to look for a solution within the squad.
Inzaghi opted to entrust Adam Marusic as this individual, and this was a decision that worked out well for both parties as the Montenegrin proved to be a capable and reliable option compared to the other choices that were available to Lazio.
Lazio’s 2020/21 Campaign
In Lazio’s season opener against Cagliari, Marusic provided a quality performance at left-wing back. He looked strong and determined to have a stellar season as he played a key role in the match and assisted on both goals in their 2-0 win.
On Lazio’s opening goal, he displayed excellent footwork and movement to get around Paolo Farago in the box. He then delivered a pass across to Manuel Lazzari, who scored. On Lazio’s second goal late in the second half, he made a stunning run down the left side of the field where he got around Farago and passed it to Immobile who converted.
After Lazio’s season opener, Marusic followed suit with a phenomenal campaign as he performed admirably at left wing-back. He appeared in 46 matches, scored two goals and contributed five assists in all competitions. In addition, he averaged 1.1 key passes and 1.5 interceptions per game and had a passing success rate of 85%. Despite the Montenegrin being a natural right wing-back, he did a great job becoming an inverted winger on the left flank; however, adjusting from right wing-back to left wing-back was just the beginning for Marusic.
When Lulic and Fares returned to the lineup, Inzaghi shifted Marusic to right centre-back, and for a quarter of the season, he transitioned well in this new position, providing much-needed depth in the backend.
The Arrival of Maurizio Sarri
The 2021/22 season has been no different for Marusic under Maurizio Sarri, as the Montenegrin has been one of the few players who have adjusted well under the new Lazio manager.
Primarily playing as a left-back in a back four, he has shifted periodically to right-back and has provided some quality performances on both flanks. He is physical and decisive and has shown that he has the capability to make strong runs and deliver efficient crosses.
While this has been impressive, his ability to transition so quickly and with ease is what has really stood out. He has looked comfortable on both flanks and this versatility has been a tactical advantage for his managers.
Final Thoughts on Adam Marusic
Adam Marusic has always shown that he has what it takes to be a quality player, and with injuries no longer a concern, he is now fulfilling his potential, becoming a significant player for Lazio.