'He came crying' - Former coach details Giannoulis left-back conversion
- Credit: Norwich City/Matthew Usher
Dimitris Giannoulis was signed by Norwich City as an attacking left-back but the Greece international wasn't always convinced that was his best position, as his former coach who converted him into a defender has revealed.
As an 18-year-old, Giannoulis spent a season on loan at Pierikos under the stewardship of Michalis Ziogas in the second tier of Greek football back in 2014. He arrived at the club as an attacking midfielder, one that was technically proficient and highly rated.
Ziogas soon noticed the qualities in City's new signing and moved him to left-back, something the then-teenager wasn't happy about, as the former Pierikos coach recalls.
"When I went to Pierikos I had a trio of PAOK players, among them was Giannoulis.
"In one training session, I saw a player who had a great technique, a great left foot and liked to go out on the attack. We are called to play a game with Tyrnavos and Dimitris changed to left-back.
"I told him you will play left-back and we have to win. I want you to do some different things. Dimitris, annoyed that he did not play in an attacking role, did not cover the first attack, and the second time was the same."
Giannoulis struggled to adapt to the role initially and rejected Ziogas' idea that he could unlock his potential more effectively as a defender. His inability to cover attacks saw him substituted in the 64th minute.
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Ziogas stood by his decision and explained his thinking to an emotional Giannoulis the next day.
"I substituted him. The next day he comes crying and asked me to speak. I told him that if he wants to make a career in Greece and abroad he will have to play in defence," he told MetroSport.
"The first thing is to learn to defend yourself. Giannoulis deserved something more and I believed that he would play for a bigger team. The most important thing is to combine work and talent. I wish him good luck because he is a great child and character and he chased his dreams."
Giannoulis is a graduate of the loan system. He spent four spells away from PAOK in order to aid his development prior to his emergence as first-choice left-back for the three-time Greek champions.
After his unveiling as a Canaries player, the 11 time Greece international spoke about his journey to Norfolk.
“I played in lower divisions in Greece for some teams, then PAOK bought me and I went on loans for five years. I then came back to PAOK and played there for the last few years and now I’m here," he told the club's official website.