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Fullbacks, How does one Rate them?

I find this position one of the most difficult to judge and rate players, because you never find like for like and even then they rarely play at the top for a long time. The role has evolved over the years as teams have moved on from 4-4-2 so fullbacks have an even greater role up and down the pitch but what are peoples thoughts on the qualities that a fullback must have.The ones that must just scream at you.

The obvious one is athleticism which I won't spend much time on but is there anything else that makes a fullback stick out as world class?

To make this easier, in my opinion of the modern day fullback (That will exclude your Irwins, Neville, Dixon etc) The standard bearers for me are

Dani Alves and Ashley Cole

Some will say why have you missed out on Cafu, Roberto Carlos but for me simply on their excellence consistently at the highest level for so many years those 2 stick out.

I dont even think there is a single fullback currently even close to those 2. Some may have different opinions and point to your Lahms, Marcelo, Alba but those 2 combine everything for me.

Then you have fullbacks that are very good at the moment but just dont give you the impression that they will be greats and for me Robertson is one of them. maybe its because he is not an athlete but I honestly cant see Robertson playing at the highest level in 3-4 years time.

Trent is obviously the one you can really look at and say can emulate the likes of Alves but other than that, there little. I like Kimmich but still something missing there. The likes of Mendy and Walker are too error prone and Mendy is gone in my opinion. The injuries have ruined him.

If you think back you have the likes of Shaw, Chillwell who looked promising but at the highest level just get exposed.

Hence why I ask what makes a really good fullback stick out?

As a side note for upcoming fullbacks Alphonso Davies of Bayern and Junior Firpo of Barca impress me a lot.




posted on 3/7/20

comment by Kunta Kante (U1641)
posted 19 minutes ago
Robertson is probably better than Cole in an attacking sense but Cole was better defensively
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I would agree.
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Cole was superb defensively, Robertson reminds me a bit of him, minus being the an arrsehiole part.

posted on 3/7/20

He also reminds me a bit of Cole in a way. I don’t think either have much tangible strong aspects to their game. They’re both kind of on the most extreme (talented/high quality) end of the spectrum that most two-way full backs can be alright if they’re fast, and have good stamina.

Cole was very good at defending. Robertson has a good cross. But while players like Marcelo, TAA and Dani Alves etc. Have really strong and obvious technical strengths to their game Robbo and Cole I think a lot of their strength is due to how they play. They do everything quickly, always on the front foot.

I had a debate with a few others on here a few months back. It kinda went on..but kinda apt to repeat the pint I made. I think the level Robertson has been at for last couple of seasons is roughly similar to Cole at his best. Robertson better going forward, Cole better defensively, and both are still good at each aspect vice versa. Both important LBs for very successful teams. Obviously Cole did it for a lot longer.

posted on 3/7/20

I will go as far to say the modern full back doesn't even need to be a good defender as long as he's good offensively.

As more and more teams don't play with pure wingers that do isolation plays on fullbacks (so no need to be good in 1-on-1 defending), you only need to be able to keep your man in front of you or cover the space on the flanks when a striker drifts wide.

Aside of that, you basically have a free role most of the time. And thats why Dani Alves is arguably the best modern full back till date and AWB is one of the poorest buys if you plan to become a top side again.

Alves was only average in 1-on-1 defending, but a top tier midfielder/winger even if you would count players that are natural on those positions. You can't double/tripple team Messi or dominate midfield with him as an actual goal threat against you.

Same with Marcelo on the other side, but he was way less driven and agressive than Alves, also shows in their character off the pitch.

AWB is a very good defender, but he will become an eyesore when Utd becomes more and more dominant over time and he 'wastes' his time on the ball.

Players like Irwin, Cole and Lahm are very nice to have when playing against other top sides who are evenly matched against yourself. But I prefer the philosophy of going guns blazing with two incredible offensive full backs and asking your opponent what they are going to do about that

posted on 3/7/20

will go as far to say the modern full back doesn't even need to be a good defender as long as he's good offensively.

As more and more teams don't play with pure wingers that do isolation plays on fullbacks (so no need to be good in 1-on-1 defending), you only need to be able to keep your man in front of you or cover the space on the flanks when a striker drifts wide.

Aside of that, you basically have a free role most of the time. And thats why Dani Alves is arguably the best modern full back till date and AWB is one of the poorest buys if you plan to become a top side again.

—-/—-/
I agree and alluded as such in my post too. As such TAA is quite easily better (for me) than AWB.

AWB can still quite easily be a world class defensive full back. Even going forward. Ok he’s obviously not TAA/Marcelo/Dani Alves. But he’s fast and, in his own kinda unorthodox way, can beat players. Kyle Walker is a stiff football player who is probably no better going forward than AWB is..so guess what I’m tryuing to say is AWB with his skill set could still be just about adequate enough going forward (and on background of his excellent defensive game

posted on 3/7/20

comment by Kunta Kante (U1641)
posted 18 minutes ago
will go as far to say the modern full back doesn't even need to be a good defender as long as he's good offensively.

As more and more teams don't play with pure wingers that do isolation plays on fullbacks (so no need to be good in 1-on-1 defending), you only need to be able to keep your man in front of you or cover the space on the flanks when a striker drifts wide.

Aside of that, you basically have a free role most of the time. And thats why Dani Alves is arguably the best modern full back till date and AWB is one of the poorest buys if you plan to become a top side again.

—-/—-/
I agree and alluded as such in my post too. As such TAA is quite easily better (for me) than AWB.

AWB can still quite easily be a world class defensive full back. Even going forward. Ok he’s obviously not TAA/Marcelo/Dani Alves. But he’s fast and, in his own kinda unorthodox way, can beat players. Kyle Walker is a stiff football player who is probably no better going forward than AWB is..so guess what I’m tryuing to say is AWB with his skill set could still be just about adequate enough going forward (and on background of his excellent defensive game
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I hope so, but realistically ‘adequate‘ is probably about as good as he can get in attack. I’m the modern game I think you have to do both well to be considered world class, he doesn’t at the moment , though hopefully will improve.

posted on 3/7/20

comment by Ole-Dirty-Baztard (U19119)
posted 59 minutes ago
comment by Kunta Kante (U1641)
posted 18 minutes ago
will go as far to say the modern full back doesn't even need to be a good defender as long as he's good offensively.

As more and more teams don't play with pure wingers that do isolation plays on fullbacks (so no need to be good in 1-on-1 defending), you only need to be able to keep your man in front of you or cover the space on the flanks when a striker drifts wide.

Aside of that, you basically have a free role most of the time. And thats why Dani Alves is arguably the best modern full back till date and AWB is one of the poorest buys if you plan to become a top side again.

—-/—-/
I agree and alluded as such in my post too. As such TAA is quite easily better (for me) than AWB.

AWB can still quite easily be a world class defensive full back. Even going forward. Ok he’s obviously not TAA/Marcelo/Dani Alves. But he’s fast and, in his own kinda unorthodox way, can beat players. Kyle Walker is a stiff football player who is probably no better going forward than AWB is..so guess what I’m tryuing to say is AWB with his skill set could still be just about adequate enough going forward (and on background of his excellent defensive game
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I hope so, but realistically ‘adequate‘ is probably about as good as he can get in attack. I’m the modern game I think you have to do both well to be considered world class, he doesn’t at the moment , though hopefully will improve.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
For me he has a better cross than Walker, although Walker is a better passer of the ball elsewhere, long range passes from right to left, which the top teams can do when being pressed to release full backs or wingers on the other side, turning defence into attack. However AWB is a much better defender and with this in mind a better player.

posted on 3/7/20

comment by Ole-Dirty-Baztard (U19119)
posted 2 hours, 1 minute ago
comment by Kunta Kante (U1641)
posted 18 minutes ago

I agree and alluded as such in my post too. As such TAA is quite easily better (for me) than AWB.

AWB can still quite easily be a world class defensive full back. Even going forward. Ok he’s obviously not TAA/Marcelo/Dani Alves. But he’s fast and, in his own kinda unorthodox way, can beat players. Kyle Walker is a stiff football player who is probably no better going forward than AWB is..so guess what I’m tryuing to say is AWB with his skill set could still be just about adequate enough going forward (and on background of his excellent defensive game
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I hope so, but realistically ‘adequate‘ is probably about as good as he can get in attack. I’m the modern game I think you have to do both well to be considered world class, he doesn’t at the moment , though hopefully will improve.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I might be a bit harsh on British players, but to me AWB seems like a typical player who's relied too much on pace and power in his formative years. I think he'll at most be an Ivanovic-type player, very reliable on and off the ball, but not a creative powerhouse on the flanks.

Alphonso Davies actually has a bit of the same problem (his speed fixes most of his occasional bad decisionmaking and positioning). I hope the Bayern coaches will develop his weakpoints instead of converting him to an forward role. He's already a powerhouse with all his faults, got all the basic requirements of a modern full back.

posted on 4/7/20

There are obviously better and worse full backs, but I agree with others here that rather than divide them into left and right, it's more meaningful to divide them into attacking and defensive backs (which could, in fact, read "ultra-attacking vs balanced". Better or worse when judging these very elite players is also somewhat misleading, as it's very much a case of what better fits a given team's style of play.

I'm also a sucker for the all-out attacking full back.

And as much as it annoys me as a Madrid fan, I'd say Dani Alves is in a league of his own as far as that position goes this century.

Both Roberto Carlos and Marcelo could be devastating at their best, but both had a headless chicken element to their games. Of these two, I have a softer spot for R Carlos, perhaps because he was a pioneer of sorts for playing that position the way he did, and because he was also a more capable defender; Marcelo can't defend for toffee.

Alves though was a far more rounded footballer, much more composed, a better striker of the ball, more versatile, and certainly a better defender than Marcelo. He was poor in the tackle, that much is true, but in his prime he had a remarkable recovery rate, which is a very necessary trait in full backs who have to hold such a high position and leave so much open space behind them.

Cole, Cafu and Robertson all fit the mould of the more balanced fullback that I'm less keen on. Robertson, it pains me to admit, is an excellent all-rounder. Irwin was a beast and, going back even further, there were two continental full backs I loved watching in the 1980s, Eric Gerets and Rafa Gordillo. Of the latter, Ruud Gullit upon being awarded the Ballon d'Or said he considered him the best European footballer at the time. Quite possibly the best delivery of any full back I've seen in my lifetime.

posted on 4/7/20

It's gotten to the point now where you might as well stop calling WBs defenders. They're not, they're attackers who do some defence now and then. This transition in football has been one of our issues. To pull it off effectively and stay defensively sound, you MUST have top draw CBs, whom aren't too much slower than said WBs.

As we've seen at AFC, rampant overlapping WBs combined with a weak central defence, produces an overall tally in the negative. It's great and exciting to watch if your team is adequately prepared to execute it (ya know, has a 100-150mil defensive unit). But without that, any team trying, is always going to fall short. Because like us, they will almost always lose out to any team with strong WBs AND a strong central defence.

In contrast, stick with the idea that a defenders job is DEFENCE and attacking prowess is a mere bonus. And even a team as small as Leicester City can ride THAT gameplan, all the way to the PL title.

posted on 4/7/20

Low-key, AWB’s crossing has improved in lockdown

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