Positional Responsibilities

The positional responsibilities in a particular positional area are the tasks that must be carried out in that positional area by a team's players in order to help the team to achieve its tactical objectives.

A player's tactical role tells him how he should perform positional responsibilities.

Typically, each positional responsibility in a positional area is performed to a relatively greater extent by one or more players who are assigned a tactical role that includes appropriate component role types and instructs them to play in or near the positional area concerned.

The main positional responsibilities are:

Detailed below for each positional responsibility, where relevant, are:

Providing Cover

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

In central defence:

On the flanks:

In midfield and attack:

Less Suitable Role Types

On the flanks:

In attack:

Conflicting Role Types

Forming a Defensive Line

Forming a defensive line is a particular aspect of providing cover that is relevant in central defence.

A team's defensive line is a hypothetical horizontal line formed by at least two centre backs who are horizontally level. As such, it is usually level with, or close to, the offside line and therefore it is directly affected by the team's offside line movement defensive instructions. It is also strongly linked to the team's line of restraint, which affects the pressing directness defensive instructions of the team's defenders and is explained in the Playing Style Balance guide.

A team's centre backs therefore hold the positional responsibility for forming a defensive line, while the team's other outfield players should generally remain in front of the defensive line so that it can set the offside line.

At least three players who are assigned defender playing positions, including at least two assigned centre back playing positions, are typically considered necessary to retain both player and spatial compactness effectively in defence, as detailed in the Positional Structures guide. A team should also ideally have three such players in defence fairly early in the defensive transition phase in order to form an effective defensive line across defence, with full backs, if used, essentially joining the centre backs in the defensive line.

A well formed defensive line enables a team to protect space effectively in defence and also restrict onside space more effectively due to the lack of onside space that exists between or behind the centre backs, unless a player is assigned the sweeper playing position.

Providing Cover in the Attacking Phase

Providing cover can also be considered separately in the attacking phase.

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

In central defence:

On the flanks:

In midfield and attack:

Less Suitable Role Types

On the flanks:

In attack:

Conflicting Role Types

Providing Cover in the Defensive Phase

Providing cover can also be considered separately in the defensive phase.

Tactical Objectives - Defensive Phase

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

In central defence:

On the flanks:

Less Suitable Role Types

On the flanks:

Conflicting Role Types

Applying Defensive Pressure

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

Less Suitable Role Types

In central defence:

Conflicting Role Types

Moving the Ball Safely

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

In central defence:

In central midfield and central attack:

On the flanks:

Less Suitable Role Types

On the flanks:

Conflicting Role Types

Linking Play

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

System-Specific Role Types

In midfield and attack:

Stretching Play

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

On the flanks:

In central attack:

Less Suitable Role Types

On the flanks:

In wide attack:

System-Specific Role Types

In central attack:

Conflicting Role Types

In midfield and attack:

Creating Chances

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

On the flanks:

In central attack:

Supplementary Role Types

In central defence and central midfield:

On the flanks:

In attack:

Creators and hold-up players, if used, are usually treated as focal players so that they can create chances more effectively. A focal player is a player to whom a team focuses play to a greater extent.

A creator used as a focal player can be referred to as a playmaker, while a hold-up player used as a focal player can be referred to as a target-man.

Less Suitable Role Types

On the flanks:

In central attack:

System-Specific Role Types

In attack:

Conflicting Role Types

In central defence and central midfield:

On the flanks:

In central attack:

Combinations

A player who is instructed to create chances as a ball-playing player is likely to be more effective if, in the team’s positional structures or attacking structures, he is level with or behind a teammate who is instructed to stretch play. Such a player is therefore typically either assigned a relatively deep playing position, instructed to provide cover or link play, or assigned the target-man component role type. By linking play (or making direct dribbles to some extent) such a player can also stay fairly close to teammates who are instructed to link play or stretch play ahead of him, making it easier for him to find them with risky passes.

A player who is instructed to create chances as a creator is likely to be more effective if he is also instructed to provide cover or link play, as this results in him staying in deeper areas where he can receive the ball more easily. By linking play such a player can also stay fairly close to teammates who are instructed to stretch play ahead of him. In addition, such a player is typically instructed to make long passes (and short passes) to an average extent so that he can use his intelligence to decide an appropriate passing range.

A player who is instructed to create chances on a flank as a byline-crossing player is likely to be more effective if he is also instructed to stretch play on that flank, as this results in him moving towards the byline more frequently.

Taking Chances

Tactical Objectives

Attacking Objectives > Creating a Goal-Scoring Chance > attempt at goal

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Conflicting Role Types