Central Defender Roles

Central defender roles include all player roles in central defender playing positions*, which are:

  • Sweeper (SW)
  • Centre back (CB)

Provided below is an analysis of how tactical theory* concepts relate to each central defender role (including all of the variations for each role), if used with its default player instructions. This information will be used in subsequent guides as part of the framework for creating tactics.


For a general analysis of all player roles and duties see the Player Roles & Duties guide. For an analysis of how to combine roles and duties so as to balance central defence see the Balancing Central Defence guide.


Detailed for each central defender role, where relevant, are:

  • Penetration score – the number that the role adds to the team’s penetration score*. This is based on the role’s use of the Get Further Forward and Hold Position player instructions.
  • Solidity score – the number that the role adds to the team’s solidity score*. This is also based on the role’s use of the Get Further Forward and Hold Position player instructions.
  • Focus level* – the extent to which the role concentrates on performing particular positional responsibilities. This determines how appropriate the role is for your team’s system fluidity, as detailed in the System Fluidity guide. Focus levels are calculated as 1.0 multiplied by the number of conflicting role types* plus 0.5 multiplied by the number of adverse role types*.
  • Role categories* – the groups that the role can be categorised in according to its role specialisation.
  • Role category implementations – any implementations that apply to the role. These are explained in the tactical theory Role Categories* guide.

Sweeper

Sweeper (SW Defend)

Description:

  • Holding, restricted-dribbling, restricted-shooting, disciplined and cautious sweeper.

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.25

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities
  • Specialist responsibilities – providing cover; providing attacking cover; providing defensive cover.
  • Supported responsibilities
  • Supplementary responsibilities – playing safe.
  • Weak-supported responsibilities – creating chances.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – applying defensive pressure; stretching play.

Focus level: 4.0

Role categories:

  • Covering central defender
    • Specialist – restrained central defender
    • Orthodox central defender
      • Specialist – withdrawn central defender
    • Specialist – protecting central defender
  • Safe-playing central defender
    • Supplementary – restricted central defender

Libero

Libero (SW Support)

Description:

  • Supporting, ball-playing, creative and cautious sweeper
  • Supporting sweeper => attacking phase auxiliary sitting, ball-playing and creative defensive midfielder

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 0.75

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities
  • Specialist responsibilities – providing defensive cover; creating chances.
    • In central midfield – creating chances.
  • Supported responsibilities – stretching play.
    • Atypical in central midfield – taking chances (sitting player).
  • Supplementary responsibilities – providing cover; providing attacking cover.
    • In central midfield – providing attacking cover.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – applying defensive pressure; playing safe.
    • In central midfield – playing safe.

Focus level: 3.0

Role categories:

  • Supplementary – restrained central defender
    • Supplementary – withdrawn central defender
    • Specialist – protecting central defender
  • Supported – running central defender
  • Specialist – skilled central defender
  • Supplementary – auxiliary withdrawn central midfielder
  • Specialist – auxiliary central midfield creator
  • Supported – auxiliary central midfield goal-scorer (atypical – sitting player)

Role category implementations:

  • Auxiliary defensive midfield countering-playmaker* (auxiliary ball-playing and creative defensive midfield creator)

Libero (SW Attack)

Description:

  • Offensive, ball-playing, shot-taking, creative and cautious sweeper
  • Offensive sweeper => attacking phase auxiliary supporting, ball-playing, shot-taking and creative defensive midfielder

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 0.50

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – stretching play.
    • In central midfield – taking chances.
  • Specialist responsibilities – providing defensive cover; creating chances.
    • Atypical in central midfield – creating chances (shot-taking player).
  • Supported responsibilities
    • In central midfield – stretching play.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – providing cover; providing attacking cover; applying defensive pressure; playing safe.
    • In central midfield – playing safe.

Focus level: 4.0

Role categories:

  • Specialist – protecting central defender
  • Designated – running central defender
  • Specialist – skilled central defender
  • Supported – auxiliary number-eight central midfielder
  • Specialist – auxiliary central midfield creator (atypical – shot-taking player)
  • Designated – auxiliary central midfield goal-scorer

Role category implementations:

  • Auxiliary defensive midfield countering-playmaker* (auxiliary ball-playing and creative defensive midfield creator)

Central Defender

Central Defender (CB Defend)

Description:

  • Holding, restricted-dribbling and restricted-shooting centre back

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.00

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – providing cover; providing attacking cover.
  • Supported responsibilities – providing defensive cover; applying defensive pressure.
  • Supplementary responsibilities – playing safe.
  • Weak-supported responsibilities – creating chances.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – stretching play.

Focus level: 2.0

Role categories:

  • Covering central defender
    • Designated – restrained central defender
    • Orthodox central defender
      • Designated – withdrawn central defender
    • Supported – protecting central defender
  • Balanced central defender
    • Protecting central defender
    • Supported – stopper central defender
  • Safe-playing central defender
    • Supplementary – restricted central defender

Central Defender (CB Stopper)

Description:

  • Holding, restricted-dribbling and restricted-shooting centre back aggressor
  • Centre back aggressor (if off-centre) => defensive phase auxiliary narrow full back

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.00

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – providing attacking cover; applying defensive pressure.
  • Supported responsibilities
    • On the flank (if off-centre) – applying defensive pressure.
  • Supplementary responsibilities – playing safe.
  • Weak-designated responsibilities – providing cover.
  • Weak-supported responsibilities – creating chances.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – providing defensive cover; stretching play.

Focus level: 3.0

Role categories:

  • Orthodox central defender
    • Designated – withdrawn central defender
  • Safe-playing central defender
    • Supplementary – restricted central defender
  • Designated – stopper central defender
  • Supported – auxiliary pressing wide player (if off-centre)

Central Defender (CB Cover)

Description:

  • Holding, restricted-dribbling, restricted-shooting and cautious centre back.

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.00

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – providing attacking cover; providing defensive cover.
  • Specialist responsibilities – providing cover.
  • Supported responsibilities
  • Supplementary responsibilities – playing safe.
  • Weak-supported responsibilities – creating chances.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – applying defensive pressure; stretching play.

Focus level: 3.0

Role categories:

  • Covering central defender
    • Specialist – restrained central defender
    • Orthodox central defender
      • Designated – withdrawn central defender
    • Designated – protecting central defender
  • Safe-playing central defender
    • Supplementary – restricted central defender

Ball Playing Defender

Ball Playing Defender (CB Defend)

Description:

  • Holding, ball-playing and creative centre back

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.00

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – providing cover; providing attacking cover.
  • Specialist responsibilities – creating chances.
  • Supported responsibilities – providing defensive cover; applying defensive pressure.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – stretching play; playing safe.

Focus level: 3.0

Role categories:

  • Covering central defender
    • Designated – restrained central defender
    • Orthodox central defender
      • Designated – withdrawn central defender
    • Supported – protecting central defender
  • Balanced central defender
    • Protecting central defender
    • Supported – stopper central defender
  • Specialist – skilled central defender

Role category implementations:

Ball Playing Defender (CB Stopper)

Description:

  • Holding, ball-playing and creative centre back aggressor
  • Centre back aggressor (if off-centre) => defensive phase auxiliary narrow full back

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.00

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – providing attacking cover; applying defensive pressure.
  • Specialist responsibilities – creating chances.
  • Supported responsibilities
    • On the flank (if off-centre) – applying defensive pressure.
  • Weak-designated responsibilities – providing cover.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – providing defensive cover; stretching play; playing safe.

Focus level: 4.0

Role categories:

  • Orthodox central defender
    • Designated – withdrawn central defender
  • Designated – stopper central defender
  • Specialist – skilled central defender
  • Supported – auxiliary pressing wide player (if off-centre)

Role category implementations:

Ball Playing Defender (CB Cover)

Description:

  • Holding, ball-playing, creative and cautious centre back

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.00

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – providing attacking cover; providing defensive cover.
  • Specialist responsibilities – providing cover; creating chances.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – applying defensive pressure; stretching play; playing safe.

Focus level: 4.0

Role categories:

  • Covering central defender
    • Specialist – restrained central defender
    • Orthodox central defender
      • Designated – withdrawn central defender
    • Designated – protecting central defender
  • Specialist – skilled central defender

Role category implementations:

Defensive Centre Back

Defensive Centre Back (CB Defend)

Description:

  • Holding, restricted-dribbling, safe-passing, restricted-shooting and disciplined centre back passer

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.00

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – providing cover; providing attacking cover.
  • Specialist responsibilities – playing safe.
  • Supported responsibilities – providing defensive cover; applying defensive pressure.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – stretching play; creating chances.

Focus level: 4.0

Role categories:

  • Covering central defender
    • Designated – restrained central defender
    • Orthodox central defender
      • Designated – withdrawn central defender
    • Supported – protecting central defender
  • Balanced central defender
    • Protecting central defender
    • Supported – stopper central defender
  • Safe-playing central defender
    • Specialist – restricted central defender

Defensive Centre Back (CB Stopper)

Description:

  • Holding, restricted-dribbling, safe-passing, restricted-shooting and disciplined centre back passer and aggressor
  • Centre back aggressor (if off-centre) => defensive phase auxiliary narrow full back

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.00

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – providing attacking cover; applying defensive pressure.
  • Specialist responsibilities – playing safe.
  • Supported responsibilities
    • On the flank (if off-centre) – applying defensive pressure.
  • Weak-designated responsibilities – providing cover.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – providing defensive cover; stretching play; creating chances.

Focus level: 5.0

Role categories:

  • Orthodox central defender
    • Designated – withdrawn central defender
  • Safe-playing central defender
    • Specialist – restricted central defender
  • Designated – stopper central defender
  • Supported – auxiliary pressing wide player (if off-centre)

Defensive Centre Back (CB Cover)

Description:

  • Holding, restricted-dribbling, safe-passing, restricted-shooting, disciplined and cautious centre back passer

Penetration score: 0.00

Solidity score: 1.00

Role specialisation:

  • Designated responsibilities – providing attacking cover; providing defensive cover.
  • Specialist responsibilities – providing cover; playing safe.
  • Non-contributive responsibilities – applying defensive pressure; stretching play; creating chances.

Focus level: 5.0

Role categories:

  • Covering central defender
    • Specialist – restrained central defender
    • Orthodox central defender
      • Designated – withdrawn central defender
    • Designated – protecting central defender
  • Safe-playing central defender
    • Specialist – restricted central defender