Definition of Full Back

While somewhat forgotten about in the past, the modern position of full back is one of the most important on the pitch. They now have the added responsibility of pressing up the pitch and assisting the attack, as well as all of their defensive responsibilities.

To be a quality full back, one has to have quite a bit of pace and stamina in order to bomb up and down the pitch for 90 minutes. Then they should have sufficient technical abilities like being able to cross the ball. They also must have a quality level of marking, tackling and anticipation abilities common in other defenders. Finally, they must be intelligent, as they need to know when to make appropriate runs or stay back.

In the ancient formations of football, the full backs were often used more as central defenders rather than the role they fulfill today. Yet, with formations like Carlo Ancelotti's "Christmas Tree" 4-3-2-1 at Milan, the full backs provide the width in the attack. Similarly, Pep Guardiola often uses full backs as wide passing outlets while his creative players cut inside. If used correctly, they can also be used to pin opposing full backs in their defensive positions, thus nullifying many opposition attacks.

One of the best modern full backs is the now-retired Philip Lahm, of Germany and Bayern Munich. He was intelligent, helped attacks and was defensively reliable. Brazilian Dani Alves is another, although he was much more focused on supporting attacks rather than remaining overly defensive in his mindset. Ashley Cole, also widely regarded as one of the best left backs ever, is one of the full backs that ticks all of the boxes.

Until the game undergoes another major revolution, it seems that the full back position shall remain in the spotlight. It's led to entertaining play and more talented players thus far, so we don't have a problem with it.