Backe keen on Red Bulls trialist Tainio

Finnish int'l, former Spurs midfielder could play on back line

Teemu Tainio

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The New York Red Bulls could be adding yet another Scandinavian player to their roster as Finnish international Teemu Tainio is on trial with the club.

The versatile player, who has been capped more than 50 times with his senior national team, has left Dutch club Ajax in pursuit of a new contract elsewhere.

Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe confirmed via conference call on Friday that Tainio is with the club for preseason training in Mexico and will be heading to Guadalajara for a friendly match against Chivas.

Backe said he is impressed with what he’s seen from Tainio and that he’s familiar with the player and what he can bring to the Red Bulls. The Swedish coach said he hopes to have the player join New York for their second leg of preseason training in Florida in a couple weeks.

Tainio has played in France with Auxerre in addition to English sides Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and Birmingham City.

“Hopefully we can sign him,” Backe said.

Calling him an “attacking player,” Backe noted that Tainio can play any position in the midfield, though he sees the 31-year-old playing on the back four.

“Most of his career he’s been playing as a central midfield player, a box-to-box midfielder,” Backe said. “If we buy him, we’d use him as a right fullback.”

That’s a position currently held by Chris Albright, who was a regular at right back after working his way into the first XI early last summer. Backe’s comments seemed to indicate that Albright is being viewed as more of a depth option rather than a regular in this year’s team.

Backe was noncommittal in labeling Albright’s role with the Red Bulls for 2011.

“Chris will get his chance to compete for the starting XI,” he said.

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