FM20: Modern Full Backs Part 3

Roles picked and explained, it’s time to look at what these players do in my system. I’ll be assessing their stats, how they interact with the wingers ahead of them and some of their general play.

Modern Full Backs

As I mentioned before, the role of the full back has changed massively. No longer seen as just a defensive player, the modern full back is now a winger and defender rolled into one. They are praised for their attacking play and when it goes wrong, they get criticised for “not being able to tackle” which is usually, nonsense.

I’m not going to be focusing on their defensive stats, although I will throw them in here.

People will obviously want to focus on my players stats and say “but my wing back got 40 assists last season” cool, but you’re missing the point of what I’m doing in that case. Football is a team game. I want my full backs to operate as part of a unit, not as individuals. One player getting that many assists to me is not a good system. I’d pick four players getting 10 assists over one player getting that many, any time.

Working with Wingers

Before looking at the interaction the full backs will have with the wingers, you can have an idea of what will happen. On the right, as the inverted winger cuts inside we’ll see the full back running into the space that he’s left. This can drag the opposition full back inside, leaving time and space for my full back to take advantage of. Against sides with only one set of wide players, we can isolate the opposition full back and leave him with a decision to make about who to track.

On the left hand side, the complete wing back will link up with the wide midfielder, offering support, through balls and overlaps. He’ll join the attacks a little bit later than if he had an attack duty, but in our system, he’ll still be quite attacking.

Prepare for screenshots.


CWB overlapping the WM, running into space.

As the move progresses, Cepkauskas ends up one-on-one against the opposition right back and makes an assist. He isn’t deep, but he isn’t on the byline either. He has an abundance of options to cross to and a couple of passes if he so wishes.


Wing back to AF/A for the goal.

Having options in the box is what you need to be successful with crosses and there are many options here.

In this game against Salernitana (using a horrific 3421 with two DM’s) the Palumbo is in acres of space as the opposition wing back(Maksimovic) has opted to mark my WM/A, keeping a tight defensive line. Palumbo has the opportunity to run into the box and make the cross from beside the 6 yard box before Maksimovic is anywhere near him. My IW/S pops up at the far post to tap the low cross in.

assist 2.png

Over on the right hand side, here’s a couple of examples of what we can expect from him. A gif (crazy times) shows

Overlap ✅
First time pass ✅
Assist ✅
Opposition Full Back in no man’s land ✅

1first time.gif

I love seeing players run forward with intent.

2coming through.gif

Coming through!

The ball goes through to the onrushing Gomez who sets up another goal


None of these assists have been crossed from the byline, there are numerous options to pick from and the accuracy has been brilliant.

I can obviously go into further depth, but I don’t want this to become a highlight reel. These are the types of moves I see regularly. They don’t always result in goals, but the movement, the positioning and the isolation of defenders is what my full backs excel at.


Looking firstly at the Complete Wing Back, I’d expect to see a decent number of key passes and perhaps a slightly lower pass completion percentage. I looked up Trent first and that is how he is.

Starting with passing. Palumbo is averaging 50 passes per game with an 88% pass accuracy and 1.84 key passes a game. That’s the third highest key passes in my team, behind my two central midfielders. His cross accuracy is 26%, which when comparing to real life players, is pretty high. I suspect this is due to the number of men I tend to get in the box. He is dribbling 2.7 times per game, which is more than double what we’d see from TAA.

Obviously, some of these stats are player dependant. Palumbo has higher dribbling numbers, but I would expect that due to dribble more and the fact that he has a running with ball trait.

Over on the right, Gomez has a higher passing accuracy of 90% with an average of 52 passes per game. 0.97 of those passes are key passes. That’s a little behind what Andy Robertson does, but I’m happy with that and obviously, the system is king here. His crossing accuracy is very good at 30% and he’s doing 1.5 dribbles per game. That’s actually higher than Robbo has in real life.

Surely with all of the attacking, there’s not much happening defensively? Well, you’d be wrong. They are contributing more than I actually expected in that sense. Palumbo (3.32 tackles p/90) and Gomez (3.06 p/90) have the third and fourth highest numbers of anyone who has played in over 10 games this season. That is behind my WM/A on 6.22 and my CM/D on 4.35. It’s not all about attack.


I think I stated earlier that this isn’t a ‘how to’ but a look at ways of getting better output from your full backs. It’s easy to skim over the in game descriptions of roles and think that you know better than the game. People often think of the wing back role and choose it based more on what they know from what pundits say and less on what they know about how those roles operate in Football Manager.

Reading a bit more about the descriptions of roles, considering the instructions attached to them and actually watching what they are doing in a match is important. That goes for every role in the game.

It’s ok if you disagree with my interpretation of how the two players I mentioned play, I think the game does going by the traits attached to the players. Talking of traits, they are a great way for you to further refine how your full backs operate. Want them to dribble more? Then find a suitable trait to get them to do that. Dribbling too much? Find one that stops that, or find a role that suits. Use the roles to get close to what you want and traits to mould the player.


This is shite
Not a question, but thank you, I know my level.

Why did you choose that role when Robertson is clearly a wing back?
That’s open to interpretation, isn’t it?

Why didn’t you post more screenshots?
I quite like words too.

What skin is that?
Foreskin (no, it’s the Rensie Skin)

What role suits my full backs?
This is a good question. That is entirely dependant on your players, what you expect from them and how you’ve built your system. The best role is the role that works within the tactic that you’ve created. Experiment, make sure they are doing what you expect of them.

Any save updates planned?
Not at present, but I never say never.

Wait, you’re at Lazio now? Wtf m8?
Yes, I moved clubs twice. You’re not in my Slack channel? N00b

You released the first two parts months ago, why the long wait?
Forgot mate. Enjoy FM21

I thought there was gonna be video?
I thought I’d be a millionaire by the time I was 40, but you don’t always get what you want. Fuck up.

This seems incomplete/strewn with errors, what gives?
I said I forgot. I’ve just hit publish to get it out of drafts. Soz.


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