Germany: Bundesliga
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S. Rode (55)
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By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Labbadia on Anton-Vagnoman competition: "Josha is coming along."

Asked directly about his controversial decision to give center-halve Waldemar Anton the starting nod at right back, VfB Stuttgart trainer Bruno Labbadia indicated that he was open to giving Josha Vagnoman the nod at some point. 
VfB Stuttgart gaffer Bruno Labbadia's decision to stick with Waldemar Anton at right back in recent weeks has been a hotly debated issue among both league observers and the VfB faithful in recent weeks. The rather more logical choice for the position would be former HSV standout and German youth international Josha Vagnoman, signed for a reported hefty fee of €3.8 million this offseason.

Asked directly about his choice during a Thursday presser, Labbadia explained his decision to keep the 22-year-old mostly on the bench during his coaching tenure. Labbadia made the - admittedly also debatable - case that he didn't get enough of a chance to see Vagnoman in the January training camp. In the coach's view, the player's form isn't quite there yet.

"We can see that Josha is on the rise," Labbadia said of Vagnoman's recent performances in training, "That's good. He appears to be stabilizing."

That doesn't appear to mean much of anything, however, as Labbadia still endorsed the play of his veteran. The VfB trainer appeared to be committed to including Anton in his starting lineup against Frankfurt this weekend.

"Waldi [Anton] completes the most sprints in the team in almost every game," Labbadia noted as he continued to defend his decision, "We need to make sure that we keep our contributors in whilst simultaneously remaining attentive in central defense."

Labbadia doesn't possess another alternative at right back; not with Pascal Stenzel again a confirmed out for the coming weekend fixture. A back-three nevertheless remains a possibility with the return of the previously suspended Borna Sosa. Vagnoman and Anton could conceivably both start with the former axially chained to Sosa as the right wingback.

Labbadia could then deploy a back-three consisting of Anton, Hiroki Ito, and Konstantinos Mavropanos. Ito did a decent job filling in for Sosa at left-back last week. After a strong display in the loss against Bayern, Dan-Axel Zagadou is also a candidate for a start in central defense.

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