Football Tactics for Beginners: Multi-Functional Players

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Introduction:

In times gone by, multi-functional players may have been viewed less glamorously. No-one would wax lyrical about the right back who was able to play right-wing and centre-back. They were the utility squad members who were adept at slotting into a number of positions – be it fullback, centre back, or even centre midfield. They were far from indispensable and would only likely feature if there were injuries or a need to rotate the squad.

This is, however, a view which has become outdated. At the very pinnacle of European football, we now see players who can function in numerous areas of the pitch. David Alaba, Thomas Müller, Phillip Lahm to name a few. These players are members of Europe’s elite, and players that can be considered capable of performing confidently in more than one position – an idea synonymous with the notion of total football. 

Advantages:

One of the romantic ideas often associated with the notion of multi-functional players is that, even if they are found out of position on the pitch, they will be able to deal with the situation to due knowledge of how to carry out the role. This obviously works within reason – a right back cannot be expected to be a centre-forward just because he finds himself up top. However, if a centre-back finds himself defending out wide, then prior knowledge will serve to help them marshal the situation better.

Too add to this, by having players capable of functioning in a number of positions, the squad is able to have more adequate injury cover without having to necessarily increase the size of the squad. For example, if Bayern Munich suffered an ‘injury crisis’, to borrow a term from the lexicon of the footballing world, then they would arguably still have cover in the form of David Alaba who became schooled in various positions due to his multi-functional nature.

In terms of producing a cohesive term who are fluid on the pitch, having multi-functional players can be extremely beneficial. Take, for example, Manchester United’s fledgling attack. Whilst it it is still in its embryonic stages and still very raw, the players on show can arguably perform in a number of roles – Martial (LW, RW, ST), Lingard (CAM, RW), Mata (CAM, RW), Rashford (ST, RW), Memphis (ST, LW).

Disadvantages:

The disadvantage with playing players in several positions is that it can hinder the development of the individual. A prime example of this can be seen in the development of Chris Smalling. Often played at right back, Smalling appeared to be a player that wasn’t up to the standard of Manchester United. However, when he was moved centrally he looked far more natural, and eventually, the England centre-back found his feet and developed his game.

Another danger is that by using a player in a number of positions, the player may be subject to an information overload about positioning and general instructions about how to play the position. Expecting players to understand the requirements of several positions is tasking and requires a strong desire to learn, something not all players will obviously agree to.

On a similar tangent, players that almost have their positions cemented are unlikely to want to be moved about the pitch. It is therefore important to know what players you’re handling before attempting to get a player to understand an alternative position.

Conclusion:

Multi-functional players are undoubtedly becoming a larger part of the modern game. Born out of the idea of total football, players are becoming schooled in more positions allowing for more fluidity in the way game is played, and also in the use of personnel.

Read More

Football Tactics for Beginners: The Low Block

What is the low block? The low block is generally referred to a football team's defensive shape without the ball. Generally the low block consists...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Defending Corner Kicks

We are all afraid of it. It is the 90th minute, your team is up by one goal and the opposition is about to...

Football Tactics for Beginners- The Sweeper Keeper: From Lev Yashin to Manuel Neuer

Germany’s Manuel Neuer has been widely credited as one of the finest goal-keepers of his generation, and quite rightly too. The Bayern Munich shot-stopper...

The Diminishing role of the Stopper Center Back in the Premier League

Defending and its place in the modern game has spawned a quagmire of critical debate. Back in 2014, when Gary Neville’s article in the...

The art of the long throw and how to counter it

Since the dawn of time, mankind has yearned to to throw stuff really far. Rocks, spears, shapes in the night club, to be human...

Football Tactics For Beginners-The Christmas Tree Formation

  Football is a result oriented business. Whatever succeeds, earns fame for itself and for its conceiver. And if it captures the imagination of spectators...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Tactical Periodization

What is Tactical Periodization? Tactical Periodization is a coaching methodology which is used to train football players with respect to the tactical context of the...

Football Tactics for Beginners

Barcelona Vs Real Madrid:The Dream Team vs The Galacticos

An imagining of a match between two famous El Clasico sides. The 1992 European Cup winning Barcelona team, known as “The Dream Team” versus...

How to beat Pep’s Barcelona, with helpful advice from Bruce Lee, Samuel Johnson, and others.

Barcelona have started to dominate European football to such an extent that the drawing of group stages was inconsequential to them being pronounced favourites...

Cruyffism through Spain

Spain has developed a unique commitment to technical football which has put them in good stead to make the past decade a period of Spanish dominance. The story to this dominance begin decades before hand when Cruyff decided that Barcelona would be the club he would next manage after his time at Ajax was over. He would create a cohesive identity for the club which kept the vision while finding success. This vision began with a number of manager who came before Cruyff but after Cruyff left, there would be many managers in Spain who would use his methods to discovery their own success.

Football And Alcohol

      “When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.” Football and booze go a long long way back, in...

FC Start and The Death Match

“Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we must not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived.” – John...

English Football and its “Get Stuck-In” Mentality

It was a glum group of players and supporters who filed out of Matlock Town’s Causeway Lane ground in 1982. Hyde United had lost...

Dr. Carneiro or: How I should learn not to stop the game and love the boss

Hundreds of journalists this week have condemned Jose Mourinho for his treatment of Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn after they wrongly ran onto the...

Forgotten Superstars-Matthias Sammer

Most football fans who consider themselves to be experts will expect to be able to name a long list of recent Ballon D'or winners....

Hungary – The Golden Team that never quite made it.

When you look back at the history of past World Cup winners and European Championship winners the usual names by in large stand out....