VERSATILITY is often seen as having a negative effect on a player's progress.

But that is not the case with Joey O'Brien.

The Wanderers midfielder is thanking his lucky stars this season that he has been able to make the switch to right back.

The 19-year-old has come up through the youth ranks making a name for himself as a central midfielder.

He made the breakthrough into the first team last season with two appearances off the bench.

He would have been hoping to build on that this term. But he could not have expected to have seen the amount of first team action that he has done.

Before Saturday's trip to Arsenal, he had started 21 games for Wanderers.

And almost all of them have come at right back where he stepped in following an injury to Nicky Hunt and continued to impress.

Sam Allardyce described him as having become a "dominant force at right back in the Premiership".

Versatility is often seen as preventing players from from developing in their favoured position.

But Dubliner O'Brien sees only the positives of his versatility which has enabled him to catch the eye of Ireland boss Steve Staunton as well as making his mark in a high-flying Premiership side.

He showed his versatility against Wigan last week when he switched from right back to the centre of midfield when Khalilou Fadiga was stretchered off injured after 23 minutes.

"I think being able to play different positions has been good for me," he said.

"I wouldn't have got the amount of games in the team if I hadnt been playing right back.

"At the time that Nicky got injured I was playing in midfield and I got the chance to play at right back.

"We've got a few injuries and it was good that I was able to slot back into midfield last week.

"I haven't thought about whether I may be a defender. I've just thought about getting in the side - that was the main thing."