The modern fullback

What skills do the best fullbacks in football bring to the team that makes them the hottest property in football at the moment? They love to attack and defend at pace and get equal amounts of pleasure at being the best at both roles.

It seems that in the modern day game of soccer, the soccer wing backs/ fullback have become one of the most important positions within a team.

In almost every football game you watch these days you will see them sprinting up and down the field chasing back at full throttle to defend their own goal, then in the next moment they are sprinting forward in attack looking for an assist for a team-mate or even a goal themselves .

Does it really matter if they are in the team to defend or attack?the best fullbcks in football

Essentially you are getting one player who needs to be the best at playing two positions attacker and defender.

This position has evolved over the years from just being a defender, who’s job was simply to stop the other team from scoring to today’s all action player. The old fashioned fullback hardly ever crossed the half way line as and joining the play as an attacking player.

When you think of the new flying wing back, players like Kyle Walker at Manchester city or Andy Robertson at Liverpool are two that spring too mind. Fast, agile, and always on the move.

You sometimes don’t even see them as defenders as they get forward that often during a match, you could even call them old fashioned wingers as they play that high up the pitch in the wide area’s

They are vital in building up attacking phases and spend most of the game in the attacking third, creating chances and assists for the other forward midfield and attacking players.

The full back or wing back have evolved into a player who needs to be good in attack and defence.

It is no longer acceptable to be static and stay the whole game in one defensive position either on the left or right of the defense.

They also need to be a supreme athlete as they will be constantly moving up and down the football pitch, and need to be one of the fittest players on the field.

The fast game today means that the play can switch instantly from left to right from your team.  The game can also go in a split second from the opposition team attacking, to your team counter attacking within seconds of each other.

Oh and besides that they need to be on of the fastest players in their team as generally you will be defending against the opposition winger who will have pace to burn and loves to sprint.

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The shape of the team

Using the modern fullback can be key to team tactics and how you want to play against the opposing team.

When teams decided to move from a traditional back four to a back three with two wide full backs things started to change.

It allows the full backs to have more freedom, as the three central defenders could allow protection for those wider players to get forward in attack more.

In a four four two formation the holding midfielder can cover these areas so it can still be used as an attacking option for your team

In today’s football, teams like to play with width and the full-backs are a way of providing this.

The full backs can go on the overlap and they can offer a fantastic balance and shape to a team.
Allowing them to fulfill both roles they are needed for within a team the creating of goals and the stopping them going in at the other end.
the right fullback



A high price to pay

If you want the best fullbacks in football then this will come at a high cost to your football club.

The true value of a full back can be measured by the amounts any club is willing to pay for a player in this position. The amounts of money being spent on this position in the team seems to be going up and up.

It is a certainty that record fees will continues to be broken if the right player is needed by the top teams around the World.

In 2017 five of the most expensive full-backs were bought at a huge cost to clubs.

  • Benjamin Mendy went from Monaco to Manchester city for £52 million.
  • Kyle Walker went from Tottenham to Manchester city for £50 million
  • Danilo went from Real Madrid to Manchester City for £26.9 million
  • David Zappacosta went from Torino to Chelsea for £23 million
  • Serge Aurier went from Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham for £23 million.

What does the future hold?

The problem most top clubs are going to find in the next few years is, there is a shortage of top class Full-backs available in the global market as the demands on them has become so great.

In my opinion all clubs should be looking at developing this type of player through their youth academies, as attacking football seems to be the in thing at the moment.

Who knows they could find a gem of a player and sell this player to a top club for millions of pounds and in the process be securing the long term future of their own club

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the modern fullback


5 Skills you will need to be a top wingback

  1. Speed – getting forward and back at a fast pace is key in this role. The game can switch from attack to defence in the blink of an eye.
  2.  Good on the ball –  your touch needs to be first class as you play in the wide position you will be the outlet for many   attacks. You will have space to play in so the ball can be switched to you at any time from the other side of the pitch
  3.  Ability to cross the football and constantly create chances for team-mates
  4.  A defenders brain – this goes without saying as you will need to have the knowledge and understanding of how to defend and protect those precious clean sheets.
  5.  Stamina – fitness is key for his position. You will be constantly running up and down the length of the pitch. That means you are likely to cover more distance than most of the other players

Who are the top ten fullbacks in football today?

1: Andy Robertson : Age 26: Club Liverpool : Place of Birth: Glasgow:

  • He signed from Hull City in July 2017 and has become one of the first names on any Liverpool starting 11 team sheet thanks to his fantastic consistant form game after game.
  • He has become a fans favourite thanks to his superb raids up and down the left flank.
  • He has 4 assists leading to goals and 27 chances created already this season.

2: Danilo :Age 27 : Club Manchester City : Place of Birth:  Bicas, Brazil

  • He has made 28 appearances for the club and has 3 goals, 2 assists and 8 clean sheets.
  • He is often pushed high up the pitch and plays almost as an extra attacker
  • A player who is known for being very confident on the ball and calm in possession of the football.

3: Trent Alexander Arnold : Club Liverpool FC : Age 20 : Place of Birth: Liverpool.

  • He has been with Liverpool FC since the age of 6 and made his debut in October 2016.
  • This season he has already made 33 first team appearances and that includes a start in the 2018 Champions League Final
  • A fullback with a great engine and has a superb eye for a pass.
  • He has 3 assists and 20 chances created so far this season.

4: Kyle Walker : Club Manchester City: Age 28 : Place of Birth: Sheffield

  • Throughout his Premier League playing career he has scored 6 goals has 248 appearances
  • He has a tackle success rate of 77% he has 24 assists.
  • He is known for his incredible pace which often gets him out of troublesome defensive situations.

5: Jordi Alba : Club FC Barcelona : Age 29 : Place of Birth: Barcelona

  • He signed from Valencia in 2012 and in his first season with the club he made 4 starts and scored 5 goals.
  • A regular player for the Spanish National Team, thanks to his quality in all areas of being a fullback.
  • In his time with Barcelona he has won 4 league title and 1 champions league final.
  • In the 2018/19 season so far he already has scored 2 goals.

6: Marcelo : Club Real Madrid : Age 29 : Place of Birth: Rio de Janeiro

  • In the current season in La Liga he has played 11 times scored 2 goals.
  • He is the ultimate example of a winner and what the best fullback is all about. Quick, supremely confident on the ball.
  •  Always ready to get forward and fast in getting back to defend.
  • He needs a bigger trophy cabinet as he has won 4 La Liga titles, 2 Copa del Rey’s, 3 Spanish Super Cup’s, 4 European Cups, 4 Fifa Club World Cup’s, 3 European Super Cup’s and he also has 1 Silver and 1 Bronze Olympic medals plus a few more as well. WOW.

7: Dani Alves: Club Paris Saint Germain: Place of Birth: Juazeiro, Brazil

  • This season in 2018 he already has 5 assists.
  • He has also played for Juventus and Barcelona.
  • He joined Barcelona in 2008 for a fee of 32 Million Euros making his the 3rd most expensive defender of all time at that stage.
  • He went off to win the treble in his first season with the club.
  • He is the second most decorated defender of all time in European competitions with 9 medals, leaving him 1 behind the great Paolo Maldini.

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8: Filipe Luis: Club Atletico Madrid : Age 33: Place of Birth: Jaragua do Sul, Brazil

  • In the 2018 season so far he has played 13 times and has 2 goals and 1 assist.
  • He has also played for Chelsea and the national team of Brazil.

9: Kieran Trippier :Cub Tottenham Hotspur: age 28 : Place of Birth: Bury

  • He has started 17 matches and already has 1 goal and 3 assists in the current 2018 season.
  • He started his playing career in the youth system at Manchester city.
  • He was failing to make the first team so was sent out for 2 loan spells one at Barnsley and one at Burnley, Which then became a permanent move.
  • After promotion with Burnley to the Premier League he was signed by Tottenham for a fee of 3.5 Million Pounds. A bargain, as he has now become a full England international

10: Marcos Alonso : Club Chelsea: Age 28 Place of Birth: Madrid

  • He is a current Spanish international.
  • He started his playing career at Real Madrid but made his name in England for Bolton Wanderers and then with Fiorentina in Italy.
  • In the 2018 season so far he has started 22 matches in all competitions for Chelsea and has 1 goal and 3 assists.

Left or right back

It seems that no matter which side of the defence you decide to play on you will need to be comfortable with both feet.

Make sure you have bucket loads of energy as you will need to get moving as fast as you can up and down the pitch as often as you possibly can.

Your control of the ball needs to be first class as you will provide a vast majority of the attacking moves.

Gone are the days of the static full back standing in one place holding the offside line and just concentrating on defending.

The modern full back is here to stay, as long as talented new ones are being produced.

It looks like more attacking play is they way forward as less contact in the game is being allowed.

I am all for football teams wanting to create and score more goals and get forward at every chance possible.

I say long may this continue and to those teams who want to play a fast attacking brand of football, feel free to give us all goals, goals and more goal.

If you disagree with my 10 best fullbacks please let me know by leaving me a comment below & tell me who your best fullback in football is?

Get involved in the discussion on this article by leaving me a message. Thank you.

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Mathessa40 · 16/05/2019 at 5:53 am

Am not a fun of football, but I love to watch the games. Just dont really understand it, but am trying to learn the game. I sign up my son in National Youth Sports, his 5 yrs old that time, and he love football. And you discuss all about defends and other strategy playing the sports which am learning about it. Hopefully he will continue playing but he switch to Basketball. Am not done reading it but I believe I will learn a lot from your site.

Thank you

    Matthew Hofman · 16/05/2019 at 10:15 pm

    hi mathessa thank you for the comment. It’s hard to get excited about football if it’s not in your blood. Try and get to a game where the atmosphere is red hot and buzzing, and you might change your opinion of the game.  

    I can appreciate we all like different sports. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and to try and learn something new

    Take care and good luck.

Tsquare · 18/01/2019 at 8:57 pm

Interesting football piece. Your article shows that you have great understanding of modern day football. There are many football clubs that have good attacking strikers but lack good defence. Take Liverpool for example they conceived many goals during last season’s premier league games. What helped them was that they were able to score many goals. But this strategy does not help a team win or become champion. So investing in strong full back is the right thing. Liverpool and Barcelona are working on  this so as they score more goals the conceive less goals. 

Great piece. 

    Matthew Hofman · 18/01/2019 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Tsquare

    Thank you for the kind message. I am pleased you found this article interesting.

    Attack vs Defence in football you can’t have one with out the other, it’s all a balancing act. If a team gets it right you soon find a winning formula.

    There is nothing better than seeing a full back at full speed doing what they are good at.

    Best wishes and take care

Dhayours · 18/01/2019 at 8:42 pm

A full back is a very strategic position in a football team, as he has to have enough speed to move forward and backwards and also agility to stop attackers. I agree with you that the role of a full back has evolved over the years from just being someone who stops attackers to someone who attacks at the same time. Most full backs today overlap. 

    Matthew Hofman · 18/01/2019 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Dhayours

    Thank you for taking the time to message me. Your comments are so true the football fullback has to overlap these days to be most effective. maybe it’s the lighter balls they use these days but most of the fullbacks seem to be able to have the perfect first touch when the ball is fired into them.

    good luck and best wishes to you

Lok Which · 18/01/2019 at 8:39 pm

Wow, I’m so glad I came across this article. I think I will start following you now because this post has really been of help to me because I’m into football and I really love anything that will make me improve on football. Thanks for sharing this informative and educative post. I’m sure my friends will love this, I will strongly share this post to my friends.

    Matthew Hofman · 18/01/2019 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Lok Which

    Firstly thank you for taking the time out to message me. I am glad you loved the article, many more to follow my friend. There is nothing better than a modern fullback who can get forward and back at pace. The modern day game certainly has some good points.

    Take care and best wishes to you

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