Flank Responsibilities

  • The flanks = deep wide players + advanced wide players
  • Deep wide players = full backs (FB) + wing backs (WB)
  • Advanced wide players = wing midfielders (WM) + wing forwards (WF)

An appropriate responsibility distribution* on the flanks can be achieved by considering key tactical roles, counterbalancing combinations and the use of system-specific tactical roles.

The information provided for each of these considerations is explained in the Playing System Balance guide and the associated tactical theory* guides that it links to.

Example combinations of player roles and duties on the flanks are provided in the Example Tactics article.

Key Tactical Roles

It is recommended to use attacking wide players*, shielding wide players*, pressuring wide players* and wide creators*, as detailed below.

Attacking Wide Players

General Usage

Recommended minimum number of players: 1.

However, if you use a vacating player* as an attacking wide player then you may want to also use an alternative attacking wide player on the same flank.

Vacating players:

  • Inverted wide player => Cut Inside With Ball + FB/WB/WM/WF

An inverted wide player can be a sufficient alternative attacking wide player to another inverted wide player on the same flank.

Tactical Roles

  • Suitable tactical instructions:
    • Line-hugging wide player => Stay Wider
    • Roaming player => Roam From Position
  • Required unactive tactical instructions:
    • Sitting player => Hold Position
    • Narrow wide player => Sit Narrower
    • Deep-dropping player
    • Disciplined-running player => Hold Position
  • Other useful tactical instructions:
    • Dribbling player => Dribble More
    • Inverted wide player => Cut Inside With Ball
    • Restricted-dribbling player (system-specific – restricted flank-target-man*) => Dribble Less
  • Atypical tactical instructions:
    • Restricted-dribbling player (if not system-specific) => Dribble Less
    • Disciplined-dribbling player (if not also a flank-dribbling wide player) => Run Wide With Ball (if Dribble More is not active)

Player Roles & Duties

  • 4.0 – Specialist – Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)
  • 3.0 – Specialist – Winger (WM/WF Attack)
  • 2.5 – Designated – Wing Back (FB/WB Attack)
  • 2.0 – Designated – Full Back (FB Attack)
  • 1.5 – Designated – Wing Back (FB/WB Support)
  • 1.5 – Designated – Wide Midfielder (WM Attack)

System-specific:

Atypical:

  • [if not used as system-specific] 2.0 – Designated – Wide Target Man (WF Attack) – restricted-dribbling player

Vacating:

  • 2.5 – Designated – Inverted Winger (WM Attack) – inverted wide player
  • 2.5 – Designated – Inside Forward (WF Attack) – inverted wide player

Shielding Wide Players

General Usage

Recommended minimum number of players: 1.

Tactical Roles

  • Required active tactical instructions: at least one of the suitable tactical instructions detailed below.
  • Suitable tactical instructions:
    • Cautious player (or fairly cautious player) => decreased player CLOSING DOWN slider
    • Narrow wide player => Sit Narrower
    • Zonal-marking player
    • Loose-marking player
    • Easy-tackling player => Ease Off Tackles
  • Required unactive tactical instructions:
    • Aggressor (or fairly aggressive player) => increased player CLOSING DOWN slider
    • Man-marking player => Mark Specific Player/Position
    • Tight-marking player => Mark Tighter
    • Hard-tackling player => Tackle Harder

Player Roles & Duties

  • 5.5 – Supplementary – Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Attack)
  • 5.0 – Designated – Defensive Full Back (FB Defend)
  • 4.5 – Supplementary – Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Defend)
  • 4.0 – Supplementary – Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)
  • 3.0 – Supplementary – Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Support)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Full Back (FB Defend)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Wing Back (FB/WB Defend)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Wing Back (FB/WB Attack)
  • 2.0 – Supplementary – Full Back (FB Attack)
  • 1.5 – Supplementary – Wing Back (FB/WB Support)
  • 0.5 – Supplementary – Full Back (FB Support)

Atypical:

  • 4.5 – Specialist – Trequartista (WF Attack) – advanced wide player

Pressuring Wide Players

General Usage

Recommended minimum number of players: 1.

Tactical Roles

  • Required active tactical instructions: at least one of the suitable tactical instructions detailed below.
  • Suitable tactical instructions:
    • Aggressor (or fairly aggressive player) => increased player CLOSING DOWN slider
    • Man-marking player => Mark Specific Player/Position
    • Tight-marking player => Mark Tighter
    • Hard-tackling player => Tackle Harder
  • Required unactive tactical instructions:
    • Cautious player (or fairly cautious player) => decreased player CLOSING DOWN slider
    • Zonal-marking player
    • Loose-marking player
    • Easy-tackling player => Ease Off Tackles

Player Roles & Duties

  • 5.5 – Supplementary – Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Defend – auxiliary narrow WM)
  • 5.5 – Supplementary – Wide Playmaker (WM Attack)
  • 4.5 – Supplementary – Raumdeuter (WF Attack)
  • 4.0 – Supplementary – Wide Playmaker (WM Support)
  • 4.0 – Supplementary – Advanced Playmaker (WF Attack)
  • 3.5 – Specialist – Defensive Winger (WM Defend)
  • 3.5 – Supplementary – Advanced Playmaker (WF Support)
  • 3.0 – Supplementary – Winger (WM/WF Attack)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Support – auxiliary narrow WM)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Wide Midfielder (WM Defend)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Inverted Winger (WM Attack)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Inside Forward (WF Support/Attack)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Wide Target Man (WF Support)
  • 2.0 – Supplementary – Winger (WM/WF Support)
  • 2.0 – Specialist – Defensive Winger (WM Support)
  • 2.0 – Supplementary – Wide Target Man (WF Attack)
  • 1.5 – Supplementary – Wide Midfielder (WM Attack)
  • 1.5 – Supplementary – Inverted Winger (WM Support)
  • 0.5 – Supplementary – Wide Midfielder (WM Support)

Atypical:

  • 5.5 – Supplementary – Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre DM Defend – auxiliary narrow WB) – deep wide player
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre DM Support – auxiliary narrow WB) – deep wide player
If using lone wide players
  • 5.5 – Specialist – Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Defend – auxiliary narrow WM)
  • 4.5 – Supplementary – Advanced Playmaker (Off-Centre AM Support – auxiliary narrow WF)
  • 4.0 – Supplementary – Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Attack – auxiliary narrow CM)
  • 4.0 – Designated – Shadow Striker (Off-Centre AM Attack – auxiliary narrow WF)
  • 3.5 – Supplementary – Advanced Playmaker (Off-Centre CM/AM Attack – auxiliary narrow WM/WF)
  • 3.0 – Supplementary – Advanced Playmaker (Off-Centre CM Support – auxiliary narrow WM)
  • 3.0 – Supplementary – Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Support – auxiliary narrow CM)
  • 2.5 – Specialist – Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Support – auxiliary narrow WM)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Roaming Playmaker (Off-Centre CM Support – auxiliary narrow WM)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Enganche (Off-Centre AM Attack – auxiliary narrow WF)
  • 1.5 – Supplementary – Box To Box Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Support – auxiliary narrow WM)
  • 1.5 – Supplementary – Attacking Midfielder (Off-Centre AM Attack – auxiliary narrow WF)
  • 0.5 – Supplementary – Attacking Midfielder (Off-Centre AM Support – auxiliary narrow WF)

Atypical:

  • 5.5 – Specialist – Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre DM Defend – auxiliary narrow WB) – deep wide player
  • 2.5 – Specialist – Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre DM Support – auxiliary narrow WB) – deep wide player
  • 0.5 – Supplementary – Defensive Midfielder (Off-Centre DM Support – auxiliary narrow WB) – deep wide player

Wide Creators

General Usage

Recommended minimum number of players: 1.

However, if you use a vacating player* as a wide creator then you may want to also use an alternative wide creator on the same flank.

Vacating players:

  • Inverted wide player => Cut Inside With Ball + FB/WB/WM/WF

Tactical Roles

  • Suitable tactical instructions:
    • Wide crosser (if not also an inverted player) => Cross More Often (if Cut Inside With Ball is not active)
    • Dribbling player => Dribble More
    • Inverted wide player => Cut Inside With Ball
    • Hold-up player => Hold Up Ball
    • Passer => increased player PASSING DIRECTNESS slider
    • Ball-playing wide player => More Risky Passes
    • Deep-crossing wide player => Cross From Deep
    • Creative player
  • Required unactive tactical instructions:
    • Restricted-crossing wide player (if not also an inverted player) => Cross Less Often (if Cut Inside With Ball is not active)
    • Restricted-dribbling player (if not system-specific) => Dribble Less
    • Disciplined-dribbling player (if not also a flank-dribbling wide crosser) => Run Wide With Ball (if Dribble More and Cross More Often are not active)
    • Restricted-passing player => decreased player PASSING DIRECTNESS slider
    • Safe-passing wide player => Fewer Risky Passes
    • Disciplined player
  • Other useful tactical instructions:
    • Restricted-dribbling player (system-specific – restricted flank-target-man*) => Dribble Less
    • Byline-crossing player => Cross From Byline
  • Typically also:
    • Wide runner (analysed below).

Player Roles & Duties

  • 4.5 – Specialist – Trequartista (WF Attack)
  • 4.0 – Specialist – Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)
  • 3.5 – Supplementary – Defensive Winger (WM Defend)
  • 3.0 – Specialist – Winger (WM/WF Attack)
  • 2.5 – Specialist – Wing Back (FB/WB Attack)
  • 2.0 – Designated – Full Back (FB Attack)
  • 2.0 – Specialist – Winger (WM/WF Support)
  • 2.0 – Supplementary – Defensive Winger (WM Support)
  • 1.5 – Supported – Wing Back (FB/WB Support)
  • 1.5 – Supported – Wide Midfielder (WM Attack)
  • 0.5 – Supported – Wide Midfielder (WM Support)
  • 0.5 – Supplementary – Full Back (FB Support)

System-specific:

  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Wide Target Man (WF Support) – restricted flank-target-man*
  • 2.0 – Supplementary – Wide Target Man (WF Attack) – restricted flank-target-man

Vacating:

  • 5.5 – Specialist – Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Attack)
  • 5.5 – Supplementary – Wide Playmaker (WM Attack) – inverted wide player
  • 4.0 – Supplementary – Wide Playmaker (WM Support) – inverted wide player
  • 4.0 – Supplementary – Advanced Playmaker (WF Attack) – inverted wide player
  • 3.5 – Supplementary – Advanced Playmaker (WF Support) – inverted wide player
  • 3.0 – Supplementary – Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Support) – inverted wide player
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Inverted Winger (WM Attack) – inverted wide player
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Inside Forward (WF Support/Attack) – inverted wide player
  • 1.5 – Supplementary – Inverted Winger (WM Support) – inverted wide player

Other Tactical Roles

Withdrawn Wide Players

Tactical Roles

  • Suitable tactical instructions:
    • Sitting player => Hold Position
    • Deep-dropping player
    • Disciplined-running player => Hold Position
  • Required unactive tactical instructions:
    • Offensive player => Get Further Forward
    • Roaming player => Roam From Position
    • Line-hugging wide player => Stay Wider
    • Channel-running player => Move Into Channels
    • Drifting player
  • Other useful tactical instructions:
    • Restricted-dribbling player => Dribble Less
    • Disciplined-dribbling player => Run Wide With Ball
  • Atypical tactical instructions:
    • Dribbling player => Dribble More
    • Inverted wide player (if not also a restricted-dribbling player) => Cut Inside With Ball (if Dribble Less is not active)

Player Roles & Duties

  • 5.0 – Designated – Defensive Full Back (FB Defend)
  • 2.5 – Designated – Full Back (FB Defend)
  • 2.5 – Designated – Wing Back (FB/WB Defend)
  • 2.5 – Designated – Wide Midfielder (WM Defend)
  • 2.5 – Designated – Wide Target Man (WF Support)
  • 0.5 – Supported – Full Back (FB Support)
  • 0.5 – Supported – Wide Midfielder (WM Support)

Atypical:

  • 3.5 – Designated – Defensive Winger (WM Defend) – dribbling player
  • 2.0 – Supported – Defensive Winger (WM Support) – dribbling player

Atypical and vacating:

  • 4.0 – Supported – Advanced Playmaker (WF Attack) – dribbling and inverted wide player
  • 3.5 – Supported – Advanced Playmaker (WF Support) – inverted wide player
  • 2.5 – Supported – Inside Forward (WF Support) – dribbling and inverted wide player
  • 1.5 – Supported – Inverted Winger (WM Support) – dribbling and inverted wide player

Restricted Wide Players

Tactical Roles

  • Suitable tactical instructions:
    • Safe-passing player => Fewer Risky Passes
    • Restricted-dribbling player => Dribble Less
    • Disciplined-dribbling player => Run Wide With Ball
    • Restricted-passing player => decreased player PASSING DIRECTNESS slider
    • Restricted-crossing wide player => Cross Less Often
    • Disciplined player
  • Required unactive tactical instructions:
    • Ball-playing player => More Risky Passes
    • Dribbling player (if not system-specific) => Dribble More
    • Inverted wide player => Cut Inside With Ball
    • Passer => increased player PASSING DIRECTNESS slider
    • Wide crosser => Cross More Often
    • Creative player
  • Other useful tactical instructions:
    • Disciplined-running player => Hold Position
    • Deep-crossing player => Cross From Deep
    • Dribbling player (system-specific – defensive advanced wide player*) => Dribble More
  • Atypical tactical instructions:
    • Roaming player => Roam From Position
    • Channel-running player => Move Into Channels
    • Drifting player
  • Typically also:
    • Wide creator or withdrawn wide player (both analysed above).
    • Protecting wide player or pressing wide player (both analysed below).

Player Roles & Duties

  • 5.0 – Specialist – Defensive Full Back (FB Defend)
  • 2.5 – Designated – Full Back (FB Defend)
  • 2.5 – Designated – Wing Back (FB/WB Defend)
  • 2.5 – Designated – Wide Midfielder (WM Defend)
  • 2.5 – Supplementary – Wide Target Man (WF Support)
  • 2.0 – Supplementary – Wide Target Man (WF Attack)
  • 1.5 – Supported – Wing Back (FB/WB Support)
  • 1.5 – Supported – Wide Midfielder (WM Attack)
  • 0.5 – Supported – Full Back (FB Support)
  • 0.5 – Supported – Wide Midfielder (WM Support)

System-specific:

  • 3.5 – Supported – Defensive Winger (WM Defend) – defensive advanced wide player*
  • 2.0 – Supported – Defensive Winger (WM Support) – defensive advanced wide player

Atypical:

  • 4.5 – Supplementary – Raumdeuter (WF Attack) – roaming and channel-running player

Wide Runners

The wide runner role category is a ‘broader’ version of the attacking wide player role category.

Tactical Roles

  • Suitable tactical instructions: as for attacking wide players required active and suitable tactical instructions detailed above.
  • Required unactive tactical instructions: as for attacking wide players detailed above.
  • Other useful tactical instructions: as for attacking wide players detailed above.
  • Atypical tactical instructions: as for attacking wide players detailed above.
  • Typically also:
    • Wide creator (analysed above).

Player Roles & Duties

  • All of the attacking wide players listed separately above.
  • 4.5 – Supplementary – Trequartista (WF Attack)
  • 2.0 – Supplementary – Winger (WM/WF Support)
  • 2.0 – Supported – Defensive Winger (WM Support)
  • 0.5 – Supported – Full Back (FB Support)
  • 0.5 – Supported – Wide Midfielder (WM Support)

Vacating:

  • 4.0 – Supported – Advanced Playmaker (WF Attack) – inverted wide player
  • 3.5 – Supported – Advanced Playmaker (WF Support) – inverted wide player
  • 2.5 – Supported – Inside Forward (WF Support) – inverted wide player
  • 1.5 – Supported – Inverted Winger (WM Support) – inverted wide player

Protecting Wide Players

The protecting wide player role category is a ‘broader’ version of the shielding wide player role category.

Tactical Roles

  • Suitable tactical instructions: as for shielding wide players required active and suitable tactical instructions detailed above.
  • Required unactive tactical instructions: as for shielding wide players detailed above.
  • Other useful tactical instructions: as for shielding wide players detailed above.
  • Atypical tactical instructions: as for shielding wide players detailed above.

Player Roles & Duties

  • All of the shielding wide players listed separately above.

Pressing Wide Players

The pressing wide player role category is a ‘broader’ version of the pressuring wide player role category.

Tactical Roles

  • Suitable tactical instructions: as for pressuring wide players required active and suitable tactical instructions detailed above.
  • Required unactive tactical instructions: as for pressuring wide players detailed above.
  • Other useful tactical instructions: as for pressuring wide players detailed above.
  • Atypical tactical instructions: as for pressuring wide players detailed above.

Player Roles & Duties

  • All of the pressuring wide players listed separately above.
  • 4.0 – Supported – Shadow Striker (Off-Centre AM Attack – auxiliary narrow WF)

Counterbalancing Combinations

It is recommended to assign appropriate counterbalancing* tactical roles* when using particular types of withdrawn wide player.

Withdrawn Wide Players

A withdrawn wide player who focuses more on providing attacking cover*, such as …

  • … Full Back (FB Defend),
  • Wing Back (FB/WB Defend),
  • Defensive Full Back (FB Defend),
  • Wide Midfielder (WM Defend), or
  • Wide Target Man (WF Support) …

… Can be balanced with a wide runner and creator on the same flank who focuses more on stretching play* and creating chances* in more advanced areas on the flank, such as …

  • Wing Back (FB/WB Attack),
  • Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack),
  • Winger (WM/WF Attack), or
  • Trequartista (WF Attack).