A quality Outside Fullback has to be comfortable with the ball at his feet and be able to play both ways in the modern game.
You better have pace because the other teams wingers are generally the fastest players on the pitch and are coming at you at 100 mph all match long, don't get burned now!
Alba, Alves and Daivies can shut down the most creative players on the pitch step for step while being as much a part of the offence as any player. The modern game asks this question of the outside fullback, do you have the right answer?
Service, composure and an outlet are the pillars that set the foundation for a professional top quality outside fullback. Now you may possess one or more of these attributes, but much like any good dairy farmer knows, there's always more to give.
Truly great outside backs are hard to come by. They need to be selfless, discipline and have the ability to be “on” when their outside mid may not be.
There are no two ways about it, an outside fullback who can both defend with discipline and attack with conviction makes a complete player in the position.
Whether you have one or several of these qualities you need to develop a ninety-minute dynamic game to make it to the next level.
Well the position itself calls for a player who is strong at defending 1v1 and able to fly up and down the sideline. Sure your main role is to stay home as well it but the position at the professional level asks much more than that.
Combining with your outside midfielder, overlaps, early crosses and strikes on goal are what outside backs playing at the highest level provides for a team on attack.
Sure you’re rated in the position on how well you can defend but being part of the build up and attack is something a complete outside fullback provides.
More now than ever! You can see at the pro level today teams are constantly moving players to the full back position either because they don't have any (good for you demand is low) or they value the position so much they look to put great players there.
There are a thousand wingers and dribblers in this Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar era that defenders are becoming priceless (don't get me started if you're left footed too!)
Standing out as a full back that can do more than just defend is a fantastic way to make a University or Pro team because of low competition for the position and the difficulty in finding players who really want to be two way fullbacks in this generation.
Know your strengths and stick to or move to an outside fullback to make your next team.
Do they ever! The perception that outside backs are just for defending purposes is as big of a myth as strikers don't need to defend. If you've ever played the position I don't have to tell you how many times you receive the ball from your center back, center mid or outside mid.
You are constantly keeping the rhythm of the game and are involved in much of the build up and regrouping of the teams attack and possession.
Not only that, when you consider how the modern game is played players in this position also look to go forward getting even more touches and looking to be creative in the final third as well.
You may not think that playing outside back is the most glamorous of positions but let me tell you from professional experience that outside backs are some of the most versatile, well rounded players on the pitch.
If you take a look at some of the best teams in the world right now (Barcelona, Madrid and Tottenham to name a few) they all play with outside fullbacks that have been converted from the outside midfield position.
A coach may do this for a few reasons, either they have too many players in the outside mid position but wants you on the pitch. Or maybe they just want a player who is more composed with the ball at their feet in that position.
Many players make the jump from wing positions because of their ability to keep possession of the ball and also now that position has a player who knows how to go forward.
Any good attack is a balanced and diverse one so with that in mind if you're a crafty player who can play both ways outside back may be for you, hey Marcelo and Alves do it, why can't you?
You should always think about what do I do most in a game? Do I dribble, shoot, defend, etc. So for an outside fullback the list should include:
Yes of course there are more from time to time but these are really the ones that happen most often and probably close to 70-80% of your game. So now rank yourself from 1 to 10 in each of these qualities (honestly now Dani Alves).
Anything below an 8 needs to be worked on, anything below a 4 or 5 needs immediate attention. Simple exercises for the above qualities of your position you can do before training or on your own include:
Does the pope pray?
Absolutely. First off a professional level player should be technically sound enough to be able to hit a ball with both feet. Shoot, cross and serving a ball with both feet will open up their game to be able to cut in and shoot with their dominant foot when in the final third.
An outside back that can produce at a high level with both is what it takes to play at the professional level.
It's all about playing with focus and deliberately looking to execute your job on the pitch game in and game out. Say these to yourself before every game to get in the right mindset before stepping out on the pitch.
As much as playing well is about what you do it is also about what you avoid doing between the lines, stay disciplined and tactically sound.
There is no perfect cookie cutter mold for any player because there are exceptions to every rule and players that defy the odds, but with that in mind these are the attributes that top level pro's in this position all have in common:
Do you have a great story or tip about this position?