27 June 2013

Football Positions: Full Back

  Full back, sided defender or wing back these are three different terms, but with common meaning in modern football. We will use all of them in the current article, but we accept the as basic term - full back. The real definition of the position is a defensive player who operates on one of the sides (left or right) of the field.


  As every outfield player, the full back should wear a shirt, shorts, socks and football shoes. The main rule for the equipment is that the player’s shirt should be the same as the other teammates, but with different number. Full backs could also wear shinguards, protective glasses or other authorized protectors.

Styles of play

There are three different styles of playing as a full back divided by performing their duties.

Wing back – the origin of the term comes from the duties and the functionalities of the player, who is a mix of winger and a full back. Playing as a wing back means that the player performs with success defensive and offensive duties.

Crosser – this is a full back that operates better in the offensive part of the game. He can beat opponents on one on one situation, because he has good dribbling and pace. The main characteristic of this style of play is that the full back can deliver very good crosses in the penalty box.

Tackler – the final style comes for a player that has good tactical intelligence, good tackling ability and good composure. This player is used when the opposite winger is very explosive and leading part of the opponent’s tactic.

Tactics for styles

  As the tactics evolve season by season the needs and the tasks of the full backs changes. There are managers who want their full backs to attack more or others who want to stick to more defensive tasks.

  For example in all of the tactics with three defenders, the full backs are not used. Sometimes managers prequalified their sided defenders to the position of a so called “wing back” or they use a profiled winger. For example Napoli use the schema 3-5-2 and they have two so called “wing backs”.

  One of the modern tactics with a “diamond” midfield directly suppose the use of attacking full backs, which will have more duties as a wing rather than winger.

  An example of a need of full backs that have more defensive duties than offensive is the tactics “park the bus”. When a team emphasis on defense rather than attack, then the manager needs more tactical intelligent and strong defenders. An example of team that uses this is the team of Stoke when Robert Huth played as right full back and Rory Delap as left.

Needed Abilities

What a player needs, in order to become a good full back in football? Here is the answer:

- off-the-ball runs – good runs in empty spaces.

- pace – the player should have a pace

- throwing (throw ins) – this ability is used, because the player usually perform the throw ins. In latest seasons it became modern to throw the ball directly in the opposite penalty box (i.e. Stoke City)

- marking – this ability is helpful when the player should take a close attention to opposite wing player.

- passing – ability to make a good and accurate pass

- dribbling – in order to get past the opposite player when making a forward run, the player should have a good dribbling ability.

- crossing – usually full backs finish the forward run with a cross, so a good crosser is much rated.

- composure – the player should be concentrated through the whole game when playing in one on one situations in both halves.

- stamina – the ability speaks by itself. Full back with good stamina will make more runs.

- overlaping - good communication in overlapping of the wing player.

- tactical intelligence - this is the ability to perform the coach instructions in the game (i.e. offside-trap, when to make a run and etc.)
Of course he needs no to be injury prone.

Top players

We will give you short list with top three players playing as left full back and right full back:

  Probably the best right full back of the world is Daniel Alves from Barcelona. He is well known with his good shot, crosses and wonderful forward runs. It is hard to be the second, but according to us Philip Lahm has some areas to improve in order to reach Alves level. The third in this list will be Alvaro Arbeloa. He’s a lot underrated, but he has a lot of skills and become a starter in Liverpool, Real Madrid and in Spanish national team.

  The top player in the left full back position according to us is Patrice Evra. The French national is on top level for at least five years and definitely became a top player. The second place is for one of the left backs of Real Madrid – Marcelo. The third best left full back is Ashley Cole. He is still one of the best players in Chelsea and the national team, when fit.

Future talent

Here is a list with the top 3 future stars playing as left or right full back:

  According to our evaluations the most progressing and probably the future number one in the left full back position is Jordi Alba. Current Spanish international and Barcelona starter, the 24 year old full back, is showing a lot in both of the halves. He is very comfortable with the ball and usually makes a lot of forward runs. He played 53 games in the last season with the impressive 8 goals and 5 assists.

  Our second choice is Mattia De Sciglio. The Italian full back of AC Milan beat the competition and became a starter in the club and on international level. He has a good cross and he is tactical intelligent player. Lucas Digne is the most progressing left back in French Ligue 1. There are a lot of rumors with his name this transfer window and it is normal, because according to us he is the third most talented player in his position.

  The best young player in the right full back position is Rafael. The Brazilian future international became one of the top players of Manchester United squad in the champion season. He is very good both in the defensive and the offensive part of the game. The 22 year old player scored 4 goals and made 4 assists in 40 games for the Red Devils this season.

  Number two in this list is the the ex player of Sochaux and current of Olympique Lyonnais Sebastien Corchia. The French youngster is one of the top in his position and according to the reports sooner rather than later he will become starter in the national team. Our third choice is Davide Santon. The Italian made a transfer in Newcastle last year and immediately become one of the most interesting player in the position in Premiership. He became leading star of the Magpies.

Interesting facts

Full back never won a Golden ball award.

The most famous full back in the world is Roberto Carlos.

The most serving full back to one team is Paolo Maldini to AC Milan. He also became one of the legends in the position.

Jordi Alba does not have his driving license and his father drives him to practice.

Patrice Evra is one of 23 siblings and could field a full 11 a side soccer game with his brothers and sisters.

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