In the formation we play with two stoppers at the right and left of the back line of three who have the job to defend the penalty area.


In the middle of these is a Central Back who acts as a kind of Sweeper or Libero with license to move forward with the ball if needed and create opportunities from there with vertical passing.


This player plays with more freedom and can act as a catalyst for attacks by stepping forward, a shield beyond the 2 markers or a covering marker if either marker shifts across to deal with attacks down the flanks.


All of the defensive players are encouraged to be comfortable on the ball and to be able to quickly get the ball under control.


Our Centre Backs are the "wall" that stops attacks on goal. They need to be committed in the tackle , fast and tough.


We want our Centre Backs to be confident in possession and be able to link up passes with the Wing Backs and Midfield. If needed they are encouraged to make passes back to the goalkeeper when making backward recovery runs.


It is their responsibility to put pressure on the ball and make interceptions if they are the closest defender to the attacker.


The Centre Backs should delay the attacking player from moving forward with the ball and not allow attackers to turn in wing and central areas. Speed, angle of approach and jockeying are key considerations.

When the ball is on their side of the field they should provide cover to the defender putting pressure on the ball. When providing cover, communication, angle and distance of support are key considerations.

The Centre Backs should provide cover and balance when the ball is on the opposite side of the field. Zonal positioning and awareness of opponents are key considerations.


They should mark and track vertical runs of attackers in areas on the wings of the field.


They must keep shape, communicate with each other and stay compact. They need to be aware of attackers blind side runs (See the player and the ball).

If they are beaten by the attacker, they should aim to quickly recover for Emergency defending making runs in a direct line towards their own goal.


Player requirements :


  • Comfortable on the ball

  • Positional discipline

  • Good vision

  • Awareness of team mates

  • Brave in the tackle.

  • Excellent range of passing over short and long distance

  • Strong Header

  • Fast and Fit

Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos & Giogio Chiellini are excellent examples of the modern day Defenders.

The Great Sweepers of the past were Italians Franco Baresi, & Paulo Maldini of AC Milan. In modern football this is a role filled by David Luiz of Brazil.