Football’s top managers are always innovating to stay on top in the biggest games and so are the team at Football Manager.
They’re always looking to keep on top of the beautiful game’s most cutting-edge tactical trends and that’s shown in Football Manager 2024 by the introduction of a new player role. Say hello to the Inverted Full-Back.
What is the Inverted Full-Back?
Popularised by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and replicated by a number of other top-flight clubs across Europe, the Inverted Full-Back is a player that functions as a traditional full-back in the defensive phase but becomes more like a third central defender when their team has possession.
In real life, Kyle Walker has been an expert proponent of this new, innovative role. He’s still able to support Manchester City’s attacks as a passing option when they’re moving the ball down the right-hand side, but his more central positioning means that City have far better cover if the opposition regain the ball and look to spring them with a quick and direct counter-attack.
In this respect, the Inverted Full-Back can be considered a natural evolution of the Inverted Wing-Back role that typically asked those wider defenders to tuck into midfield during their team’s possession phase.
On the pitch it’s given Manchester City a lot more tactical flexibility, increasing the fluidity of their play and giving them the base and defensive security to get more width in the final third and provide more service for goal machine Erling Haaland.
How does it work in Football Manager 2024?
If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to try out the Inverted Full-Back in your latest FM24 career but what key attributes make a player suitable to fulfil this role?
Well, the traditional skills needed to be a Full-Back, such as Crossing, are less important for an Inverted Full-Back because they won’t be pushing up as much or looking to deliver inviting balls from wide areas more often.
Instead, the game points you to a number of the key Attributes you’d expect to find in a Central Defender, namely Tackling, Marking, Heading, Positioning and Strength.
Also really important for this role are a player’s Mental Attributes. As they need to have a lot of game intelligence, tactical awareness and situational judgment, things like Decisions, Concentration, Anticipation, Work Rate and Composure are vital as well.
Player personalities, as always, can make a difference too, so keep an eye out for those that are described in the game as Hard-Working, Professional or Determined.
Showing the Inverted Full-Back in action
Using Manchester City as an example, employing Kyle Walker as an Inverted Full-Back ensures the team have good defensive depth and coverage.
This means that whoever is played on the left-hand side, be that summer signing Josko Gvardiol or the Dutchman Nathan Ake, can be used in a more attacking capacity – perhaps as a Wing-Back. Doing this will see the left-side defender push up during the possession phase and become part of City’s attacking threat, while Walker will tuck in to form a three-man defensive unit alongside the two centre-backs.
Having the confidence of Walker’s flexible role behind them, the wide player on the right will then have license to tuck in slightly and become an auxiliary second striker just off of Erling Haaland.
Just as in real life, the Inverted Full-Back in Football Manager 2024 gives players more tactical flexibility and the chance to build up play with a three-at-the-back system and then defend as a traditional back four.
Football Manager 2024 is now available to purchase here.