The Inverted Wingback Role

Occupying the wide defensive positions of a back four is the initial job of a fullback. Recent development in the football tactics has given the known as “2” and “3” a more offensive duty. They moved from stopping the opposite wingers to not only doing that but also having the job of starting the attack from the very back by moving the ball into the zone in front of the centre-backs.

This change has thus allowed wingbacks to be more dynamic and exert more influence on the team instead of staying outwide in the field. Inverted full-backs are crucial for a team that likes to play possession based football (Evra-Brown, Cafu-Roberto Carlos, Dani Alves etc.)

By coming in-field to support the midfielders, the inverted full-backs create more passing options and therefore more possibilities to play in triangles while moving the ball around. This will give the central midfielders the ability to move up ahead and dictate the tempo in much more dangerous zones.

With 2 more playing in their defensive zone, the opposing central-backs will have to deal with the dilemma of whether to press higher or to stay in their zone, wait and hope for the best.

However, as a footballing Rocky Balboa would say, using inverted full-backs isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. As a matter of a fact, as they are instructed to infield primarily, the possibility of them making overlapping runs to support the attack diminishes. Which might cause problems when opponents deploy double marking on the wingers that are supposed to play ahead of them. It can also cause over congestion in certain matches where the opposing side chooses to play as many midfielders as possible, the team will need their players to stay wide in order to pose a threat in the attacking third.

To conclude this tactical analysis, using inverted full-backs is a risky tactic, but when executed under the right conditions, it can be very profitable and help the team get out of difficult scenarios. Using this role might result in more spaces to cover for central defenders, hence the importance of a possession based football to avoid any unexpected situations. To play that role, the player has to have a high combination of technique and athleticism.