Football has been changing over these years, and the players who have been playing in the same positions in various teams are used in different ways. Footballers were utilised in a way where their talent has been used at its best. The introduction of Inverted Fullbacks has been a revolution in football where fullbacks were seen in a different role in the game.
The fullbacks get involved in both parts of the game. They are involved in both attack and defence. They feed the ball for the strikers to attack while stopping crosses from getting whipped into their box.
Inverted Fullbacks are used when the wingers like to cut inside. They move the ball centrally and slot themselves as the third midfielder when having possession of the ball.
The Inverted fullbacks help the creative midfielders to play with freedom. They support the line of attack. It gives them the freedom to play between the opponent’s midfield and defensive lines to supply the ball to the attackers and wingers. They play in a zone called zone 14. This is a zone where the opponent’s defence must think twice before pressing or holding the line.
The significant benefit of this concept is that players who are able to play this way are often influential in nullifying the threat posed by inverted or false wingers due to their tendency to drift infield. An inverted fullback playing the position well would have the ability to show an inverted winger down the line lessening the threat they pose.
If the team is playing with a two-man midfield, then having a fullback cutting inside to join the attack will offer another option when on the ball. Teams now traditionally play with a three-man midfield to dominate proceeding. The concept of the inverted fullback is one way of helping the centre midfielders when in possession.
The inverted fullback is more effectively used when you are able to see that the opposition is playing a player who gets more joy from cutting inside. Used in these situations and it can be a very effective tool. However, if used against wingers who force them to defend their weaker, it isn’t likely to reap many rewards.
Pep Guardiola and Inverted Fullbacks
Pep Guardiola is the manager most commonly credited with creating the notion of inverted fullbacks. The idea is that the fullbacks tuck inside and push into the midfield when the team has possession of the ball.
Some professional teams have started using their fullbacks in a more central area when building out of the back in recent years. This was popularised by Guardiola at Bayern Munich and Manchester City, with players like Philip Lahm pushing into midfield to build an attack.