It is very important that the wide midfield player and their fullback team mate develop a good understanding between them. If they can work as a team, communicate well and balance off each other, then it can be double trouble for the opposition.
From an attacking perspective it is vital, that there is a balance and good understanding between them. It is no good both of them going forward at the same time for example, because if the ball is lost, then the opposition can counter attack in the space that is left.
There will be times, when the wide midfield player and the fullback can work as a pair to exploit an overload situation or a two v one opportunity. Again, there must be good communication and a balance to what they do to create a crossing or goalscoring opportunity.
When defending with the full back, they must also work very closely together, with one of them pressurising the player on the ball and the other providing cover. The key to who presses the ball is communication and who is closest and goal side to the player receiving the ball.
Using coaches chalkboard, we have designed a number of defensive examples of how a wide midfield player can effectively help their fullback defensively:
Wide player recovering to support the fullback:
There will be times in a game when the wide player has gone forward and the opposition counter attacks, leaving the wide player out of position. It is important that when this happens, the wide player recovers as quickly as possible to provide cover for their fullback who will be forced to pressure the ball. The key factors for this type of recovery run are:
Attitude to make the recovery run as quickly as they can
Angle of recovery run, they need to forget the ball and take the shortest rout to provide cover
Angle and distance of support - can they cover the line if the fullback is beaten there, can they cover inside if the fullback is beaten there.
Communication - it's important they give good, key information to the fullback - "be patient", "stay on your feet", "show inside - or show down the line", "win it, tackle"
Doubling up with the fullback:
It is important that the wide player and fullback work as a pair, so that where possible they double up on the opposition wide player who is in possession of the ball.
- Closest player to the ball pressures the ball
- Communication and decision whether to show inside or down the line
- Good angle and distance of cover
- Clear, concise communication between the players