Coaches’ Voice | The modern full-back: explained

    What is a modern full-back?The modern full-back is a full-back in a line of four who, in addition to defending wide areas, is also responsible for uniting attacks and creating chances. this is done primarily through forward runs that overlap or overlap a winger or teammate in midfield. the functions of the modern full-back are at both ends of the field; they must withstand attacks and defend in almost equal measure.

    Where did the term ‘modern full-back’ come from?Full-backs were originally the deepest players in the 2-3-5 formation that was common in the early 20th century, but as the line four-player baseline grew in popularity, full-backs moved to the sides. These players have traditionally tended to be defensive players, but there have been some notable exceptions, such as the Brazilian team that won the 1958 World Cup, with full-backs Nílton and Djalma Santos playing in attack-minded roles. As the game has developed, full-backs have grown in importance in attack: the term “modern full-back” highlights the integral contribution of the position to the modern game.

    Reading: What is a full back in football

    what are the responsibilities in possession of a modern full back? a modern full back must make constant overlapping and overlapping forward runs past the wide teammate in front of them in midfield. after entering the attacking areas, the right back’s job is to provide crosses, cuts, deep passes to wide areas, or run into deep passes, and game changers.

    Dribbling and driving forward runs over longer distances are also important, while the ability to beat an opponent in one-on-one situations and create is also useful.

    Modern full-backs also have to provide their team’s width in attack, with wingers or wide forwards often taking up more narrow positions (such as Mo Salah, above). Full-backs often take up positions to receive switches of play, with this positioning also useful in that it takes opponents away from their wide-midfield teammate, who will usually be more dangerous in possession.

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    what are the out-of-possession responsibilities of a modern full-back?Full-backs in the modern game are often tasked with playing a supporting role pressing high up the pitch moving into forward areas, especially widthwise. after pushing up, the full-back tends to need to try and cut direct balls down the touchline into the space behind them, with the aim of forcing play into more crowded areas.

    Modern full-backs have to be extremely fit and hard-working, willing and able to defend after a loss of possession to protect the areas outside the centre-backs. they need to cover long distances to chase the ball after a change of play from the opposition. the modern full-back must also be agile, quick and intelligent with his defensive positioning and therefore capable of defending effectively in one-on-one situations. .

    who are the best modern full-backs?trent alexander arnoldin liverpool’s 4-3-3 under jürgen klopp, alexander-arnold provides a cross world class from a variety of positions. he is capable of launching dangerous balls from a static position far from goal, but is also capable of making overlapping runs to the baseline before selecting a teammate. he offers exceptional ability when it comes to making precise game changes, and can break lines with deep passes from wide areas and with direct passes over the opposing defense.

    Andy RobertsonRobertson provides a similar attacking threat to Alexander-Arnold in the same Liverpool side, but is more penetrative with his runs and offers a greater threat in one-on-one situations, able to push the ball past an opponent and beat them before crossing (above). He isn’t as technical as Alexander-Arnold, and offers less variety in his creative passing, but he’s more athletic and can cover ground more quickly both with and without the ball.

    jordi albaa key player in the legendary barcelona and spain teams of the 2010s, alba’s deep overlapping runs offer a constant threat down the left flank, and he benefits from the brilliant passing ability of his teammates. he is often found through direct passes through and over the opposition, but can also receive on the turn, usually before putting a cross down. He enjoys much success in creating cuts for Lionel Messi, who is pushed back to the edge of the area. Alba’s vision, awareness of his teammates’ runs, and the ability to adapt his center depending on his position are some of his most prominent features.

    Which other players are examples of modern full-backs?• Ashley Cole at Chelsea, particularly under Carlo Ancelotti.• Dani Alves at Barcelona under Pep Guardiola.• kyle walker and danny rose in tottenham’s mauricio pochettino team.• dani carvajal and marcelo for zinedine zidane’s real madrid.

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    What are the benefits of playing with a modern full-back?Playing with an attack-minded full-back allows the winger or wide midfielder to move inside and attack more directly towards the opposition’s goal, while also creating overloads in central areas that are likely to be more threatening than those in wide areas. Modern full-backs also provide an option to attack around the outside of an opposition block; their high and wide positioning can also stretch the opposition’s back line and create more space in central areas. This positioning can also drag the opposition’s winger or wide midfielder back towards their own goal, thereby limiting their own attacking threat.

    what are the disadvantages of playing a modern full back?playing a modern full back can leave large spaces in wide areas where the opponent can counterattack. if they can get into this space, the center backs can be left exposed with a fast attacker dribbling towards them with pace.

    If a coach asks the full-back to contribute to both the attacking and defending phases of the game, but the player is unable to do one or the other adequately, the team can suffer. the position requires immense physical ability, particularly in terms of speed, stamina and endurance; If the selected player cannot keep up with the pace of the game, his team may be left with serious deficiencies at one or both ends of the field.

    To learn more about soccer tactics and get insights from top coaches, visit cv academy.

    author: tony hodson

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