Football Tactics for Beginners: The Makelele Role

Dec 2020 Update- Spurs under Jose Mourinho are currently top of the Premier League and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is one of their standout performers so...
Ben Nesbitt
European Football Enthusiast, love learning and writing about the tactical side of the game. Liverpool FC Season Ticket holder and currently studying Business Management

Latest Posts

The Rise and Fall of Third Lanark AC: Scotland’s Giants You’ve Never Heard Of

Third Lanark AC were founded in 1872 by the third regiment of the Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers after a meeting of the Third Lanarkshire Rifle...

A look at Thomas Tuchel’s 3 at the back formation for Chelsea

Chelsea have gotten off to a decent start under new manager Thomas Tuchel with 1 draw and 2 wins in his first 3 games....

Do Premier League Players Have a Say in Their Transfers?

Americans know that in sports, there is a widespread culture where players don’t have a final say in their destinies, with exceedingly rare exceptions.However,...

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and it’s impact on Football

Not in Kansas AnymoreA century ago, amidst the poultry and pig farms in a small corner of Kansas, a local doctor became inundated...

The Best Football Books of 2020

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2021, we have compiled a list of the best...

Big Sam’s tactics against Liverpool show the template to stifle Klopp’s side

Two complete opposites came up in the congested Christmas fixture list, as Liverpool in great form sitting at the top of the table look...

The Meteoric Rise of RB Leipzig: From Tier Five Football to the Champions League

The best football clubs in the world usually have a storied history, years of success, and generations of fans. However, one of the best...

Football Books

The Best Football Books of 2020

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2021, we have compiled a list of the best...

Foul- The Beautiful Game, An Ugly Truth [Book Excerpt]

The clip-clop of football boot studs on concrete echoed through the tunnel over the hum of distant crowd noise. A drenched team of players...

Best Football Analytics Books

We have compiled a list of the best football analytics books for the casual football fan. Football analytics and data science/machine learning in general...

The Best Football Books of 2019

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2020, we have compiled a list of the best...

The Best Football Books of 2018

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2019, we have compiled a list of the best...

Football Tactics For Beginners-The Modern Fullback

The modern day full back is a key player in modern football, having to supplement his more traditional defensive duties whilst supporting the attack with over-lapping runs and helping the attack overload the final third. Although primarily a defensive player the modern day full back must be willing to get forward and add extra width to his teams attack. As well as the core defensive skills required to be a full back such as tackling and marking the modern day full back must also carry technical ability when on the ball showing dribbling and crossing capability whilst aiding the team on the attack. Perfect modern day examples of these players would be Dani Alves and the up and coming David Alaba who can combine both defensive and attacking duties for the team taking their attack to the next level.

Throughout the history of European football there has been many impressive examples of the “complete full back”. Legends of the game such as Roberto Carlos, Cafu and Andreas Brehme and these have all showcased just how vital they can be in helping a team dominate the competitive scene. The impact they can have on the game is more than meets the eye, playing in a conventional 4-4-2 the Full back holds a more traditional role of being part of a solid back four but also being able to add support to the attacking wingers in front of them.  Meanwhile a formation that holds three or more central midfielders relies on the full backs for all the width on the attack and any overload in the opposition area would be down to the full backs getting forward. The full backs are mainly suited to a four at the back system whereas any another defensive system would be reliant on wing-backs which are less defensively minded than a full back.

As modern day football has advanced so has the tactics, and evidently so do the roles of the full backs along with every other player. The good old fashioned full back that could get stuck in and get by with just his defensive duties is no longer wanted and clubs are now looking for a player that is just as good at going forward as they are getting back. A player that will highlight this in will be Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, at the solitary age of 23 he has already caught the world’s eye as one of the most impressive full backs in the world. Although Guardiola is constantly tinkering with Bayern’s formation Alaba still finds time to shine at full back even though he could be pushed into midfield or even asked to come inside and be a centre half. When Bayern start with a simpler 4-3-3 Alaba’s role will be vital to the team.

This version of 4-3-3 is a very popular choice for modern football teams, Barcelona also operate a very similar system and the role of the full back is very much underrated. With a narrow midfield 3 for example; Busquets, Rakitic and Iniesta there is a severe lack of width and this causes the wingers to be unprotected unless there was support from the full backs and this is exactly what Alba and Alves offer Barcelona and could be a major part of the team’s recent success. People are quick to give Messi, Neymar and Suarez all the credit for Barcelona’s attack last season however they would not be able to do what they do so successfully if it was not for the tireless working of Alves and Alba’s marauding runs forward helping them create space and offer them options with the overlap and a big part of Barcelona’s attacking prowess is down to the willingness of the full backs.

The “traditional” full back seems to have no place in modern football with managers wanting more offensive teams and that includes the defense along with the ball playing center half’s managers now want full backs that can essentially perform as wingers when needed and that seems to be the modern evolution of the full back. Whether it’s getting one over on the oppositions attacking winger or assisting your strike force the meaning of full back is a very different to the one of twenty years ago and this pattern seems to be appearing to positions all over the field.

Related

Total Football and it’s impact on the modern game

The popularism of the “Catennaccio” in the 1960s by Helenio Herrera was game-changing in that it focused its tenets on defending and the art...

Football Tactics for Beginners: The Low Block

What is the low block?The low block is generally referred to a football team's defensive shape without the ball. Generally the low block consists...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Defending Corner Kicks

We are all afraid of it. It is the 90th minute, your team is up by one goal and the opposition is about to...

Football Tactics for Beginners- The Sweeper Keeper: From Lev Yashin to Manuel Neuer

Germany’s Manuel Neuer has been widely credited as one of the finest goal-keepers of his generation, and quite rightly too. The Bayern Munich shot-stopper...

The Diminishing role of the Stopper Center Back in the Premier League

Defending and its place in the modern game has spawned a quagmire of critical debate. Back in 2014, when Gary Neville’s article in the...

The art of the long throw and how to counter it

Since the dawn of time, mankind has yearned to to throw stuff really far. Rocks, spears, shapes in the night club, to be human...

Football Tactics For Beginners-The Christmas Tree Formation

 Football is a result oriented business. Whatever succeeds, earns fame for itself and for its conceiver. And if it captures the imagination of spectators...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Tactical Periodization

What is Tactical Periodization? Tactical Periodization is a coaching methodology which is used to train football players with respect to the tactical context of the...

Football Tactics for Beginners-Compactness

If you have the ball you must make the field as big as possible, and if you don’t have the ball you must make...

Latest Posts

Attacking 4-2-3-1 formation with Greenwood up top: Man United Predicted starting line vs Crystal Palace

After a dull 0-0 draw against Chelsea, Manchester United face Crystal Palace on Wednesday night hoping to return to winning ways. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer...

The Rise and Fall of Third Lanark AC: Scotland’s Giants You’ve Never Heard Of

Third Lanark AC were founded in 1872 by the third regiment of the Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers after a meeting of the Third Lanarkshire Rifle...

Man United expected starting lineup against Real Sociedad: Juan Mata to start?

Manchester United face Real Sociedad in the Europa League Round of 32 on Thursday in Turin, Italy. The Europa League presents a great opportunity...

The 10 Angriest Footballers

It is difficult to stay composed and collected as a footballer due to the fast-paced, high energy nature of the game. With thousands of...

Don't Miss

The European Resurrections of Ever Banega

It seems fitting that Éver Banega’s final bow in European competition involved him lifting the Europa League. Barring a surprise reversal in the future,...

When Sir Alex Ferguson Lost by 9 Goals in back to back matches

I'm shattered, I can't believe it. It was our worst ever day. It's the worst in my history, ever. Even as a player I...

Súper Dépor! The rise and fall of Deportivo La Coruña

At the StartWith the exception of a 2nd place finish to Helenio Herrera’s Atlético Madrid in 1948/49, Deportivo La Coruña have historically plied their...

FC Start and The Death Match

“Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we must not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived.” – John...

Hungary – The Golden Team that never quite made it.

When you look back at the history of past World Cup winners and European Championship winners the usual names by in large stand out....

Football History

Súper Dépor! The rise and fall of Deportivo La Coruña

At the StartWith the exception of a 2nd place finish to Helenio Herrera’s Atlético Madrid in 1948/49, Deportivo La Coruña have historically plied their...

The Evolution and Political Dynamism of Football in Mussolini’s Italy

On a November night in 1934, the English national football team faced their Italian counterparts, Nazionale di calcio dell'Italia. The match was held at...

Lifted Over The Turnstiles: Scotland’s Football Grounds In The Black & White Era

This most comprehensive book about old Scottish football grounds ever published, Lifted Over the Turnstiles contains almost 200 photos of 42 football stadiums here...

Remembering Arthur Wharton: The First Black Professional Footballer

In an interview from 1888, Arthur Wharton recalled overhearing a conversation between two fellow track competitors some years before. “Who’s he,” one rhetorically asked,...

A look back at Liverpool’s treble winning 1983/84 season

In the wake of Manchester City’s record-breaking claim to the Premier League, The False 9 will look back at some of the greatest club...