Tactical Roles

A player's tactical role is the set of tactical instructions that he is assigned. A tactical role includes an attacking role, which is the tactical role in the attacking phases, and a defensive role, which is the tactical role in the defensive phases.

A player's tactical role can therefore be broadly described by the playing position that he is given and the extent to which he should use each playing method, relative to the team's other players.

There are essentially an unlimited number of different tactical roles that a team can assign to its players. However, they can be analysed in terms of a limited number of distinct and simplified component role types that can be combined to form more complex composite role types.

Component Role Types

A component role type is a part of a tactical role comprised of a single tactical instruction.

Component role types can be categorised into positional role types, attacking role types and defensive role types.

Positional Role Types

A positional role type is a component role type comprised of a tactical instruction related to tactical shape.

Each playing position is therefore essentially a positional role type, while the other main positional role types, which are comprised of tactical instructions directly related to attacking shape attacking methods and defensive shape defensive methods, are detailed below.

As explained in the Tactical Organisation guide, a player's attacking instructions and defensive instructions regarding tactical shape are usually similar. Therefore, the positional role types below are considered to apply to both the attacking phases and the defensive phases.

Advanced Player

Instructs:

Supporting Player

Instructs:

Deep-Lying Player

Instructs:

Wide Central Player / Line-Hugging Wide Player

This positional role type can be referred to as the wide central player when part of a tactical role that includes a central playing position and the line-hugging wide player when part of a tactical role that includes a wide playing position.

Instructs:

Narrow Player

Instructs:

Attacking Role Types

An attacking role type is a component role type comprised of an attacking instruction. It is therefore part of an attacking role.

The main attacking role types are detailed below. For some an alternative name is shown in square brackets.

Offensive-Running Player [Offensive-Runner]

Instructs:

Running Player [Runner]

Instructs:

Holding Player

Instructs:

Deep-Dropping Player

Instructs:

Roaming Player

Instructs:

Disciplined-Running Player

Instructs:

Channel-Running Player

Instructs:

Skilled Player

Instructs:

Ball-Carrying Player

Instructs:

Hold-Up Player

Instructs:

Restricted-Dribbling Player

Instructs:

Inverted Player

Instructs:

Line-Dribbling Player

Instructs:

Passing Player [Passer]

Instructs:

Restricted-Passing Player

Instructs:

Ball-Playing Player

Instructs:

Safe-Passing Player

Instructs:

Crossing Player [Crosser]

Instructs:

Restricted-Crossing Player

Instructs:

Deep-Crossing Player

Instructs:

Byline-Crossing Player

Instructs:

Shot-Taking Player

Instructs:

Restricted-Shooting Player

Instructs:

Playmaking Player [Playmaker]

Instructs:

Disciplined Player

Instructs:

Defensive Role Types

A defensive role type is a component role type comprised of a defensive instruction. It is therefore part of a defensive role.

The main defensive role types are detailed below. For some an alternative name is shown in square brackets.

Aggressive-Pressing Player [Aggressive-Presser]

Instructs:

Pressing Player [Presser]

Instructs:

Cautious-Pressing Player [Cautious-Presser]

Instructs:

Man-Marking Player

Instructs:

Zonal-Marking Player

Instructs:

Tight-Marking Player

Instructs:

Loose-Marking Player

Instructs:

Hard-Tackling Player

Instructs:

Easy-Tackling Player

Instructs:

Composite Role Types

A composite role type is a particular combination of component role types.

A tactical role is therefore itself a composite role type as it is comprised of multiple component role types, as well as multiple 'sub' composite role types. As such, composite role types enable a more specific analysis of tactical roles.

A composite role type can be referred to by the names of its component role types. If a playing position (or playing position category) is included then this can replace the term player. For example, a combination of the advanced player, the running player, the ball-playing player, the pressing player and the centre midfielder playing position can be referred to as the advanced running, ball-playing and pressing centre midfielder.

Where a component role type has an alternative name (as shown in square brackets), the alternative name can be detailed after the playing position and the name of the playing position may be shortened so the name of the composite role type reads more fluidly. For example, the advanced running, ball-playing and pressing centre midfielder can alternatively be referred to as the advanced ball-playing centre midfield runner and presser.

A composite role type can also be given its own unique name. Many of the most common composite role types that have their own unique names are detailed below. For some an alternative name is also shown in square brackets. The names of these composite role types (and the alternative names) can be used in the same way as the names of component role types when the composite role types are themselves combined.

Common Composite Role Types

Hooking Player [Hook]

Includes:

Destroying Player [Destroyer]

Includes:

Protecting Player [Protector]

Includes:

Covering Player [Cover]

Includes:

Raumdeuter Player

Includes:

Fantastista Player

Includes:

Safe-Playing Player

Includes:

Water-Carrying Player [Water-Carrier]

Includes:

Limited Player

Includes:

Ball-Clearing Player

Includes:

Ball-Winning Player

Includes:

Libero Sweeper

Includes:

Stopper Centre Back

Includes:

Box-to-Box Central Midfielder

Includes:

Regista Defensive Midfielder

Includes:

Half-Back Defensive Midfielder

Includes:

Anchoring Defensive Midfielder [Anchor]

Includes:

Defensive Attacker

Includes:

Target-Man Attacker

Includes:

Defensively-Relaxed Attacker

Includes:

Luxury Attacker

Includes:

Number-Ten Central Attacker

Includes:

False Central Attacker

Includes:

Trequartista Central Attacker

Includes:

False-Ten Attacking Midfielder

Includes:

Central Winger Attacking Midfielder

Includes:

Enganche Attacking Midfielder

Includes:

False Wide Player

Includes:

Wing-Playing Wide Player

Includes:

Number-Nine Striker

Includes:

Predator Striker

Includes:

Poacher Striker

Includes:

False-Nine Striker

Includes:

Focal Players

A focal player is a player who a team focuses play to a greater extent to in order to penetrate space, create space and keep possession more effectively.

A team typically uses any players who are assigned the playmaking player attacking role type or the target man composite role type as focal players so that the team can dictate play and increase attacking support in attack more effectively.

Dictating play is explained in the Positional Responsibilities guide.

Auxiliary Playing Position Role Types

An auxiliary playing position role type for a particular playing position is a composite role type that includes a different playing position but instructs movement into or near to the playing position concerned (the auxiliary playing position).

A player who is assigned an auxiliary playing position role type therefore acts, to some extent, like a player who is assigned a similar composite role type that includes the auxiliary playing position.

Auxiliary playing position role types can be categorised as positional, attacking phase, on the ball and defensive phase.

A positional auxiliary playing position role type instructs movement near to the auxiliary playing position as a result of its inclusion of a positional role type.

Such role types include:

An attacking phase auxiliary playing position role type instructs movement into or near to the auxiliary playing position in the attacking phases, either when the player is off or on the ball, as a result of its inclusion of an attacking role type related to off the ball movement.

Such role types include:

An on the ball auxiliary playing position role type instructs movement into or near to the auxiliary playing position in the attacking phases, specifically when the player is on the ball, as a result of its inclusion of an attacking role type related to on the ball movement.

Such role types include:

A defensive phase auxiliary playing position role type instructs movement into or near to the auxiliary playing position in the defensive phases as a result of its inclusion of a defensive role type.

Such role types include:

Auxiliary Central Defender Role Types

Positional auxiliary central defender role types include:

Attacking phase auxiliary central defender role types include:

On the ball auxiliary central defender role types include:

Defensive phase auxiliary central defender role types include:

Auxiliary Central Midfielder Role Types

Positional auxiliary central midfielder role types include:

Attacking phase auxiliary central midfielder role types include:

On the ball auxiliary central midfielder role types include:

Defensive phase auxiliary central midfielder role types include:

Auxiliary Wide Player Role Types

Positional auxiliary wide player role types include:

Attacking phase auxiliary wide player role types include:

On the ball auxiliary wide player role types include:

Defensive phase auxiliary wide player role types include:

Auxiliary Central Attacker Role Types

Positional auxiliary central attacker role types include:

Attacking phase auxiliary central attacker role types include:

On the ball auxiliary central attacker role types include:

Defensive phase auxiliary central attacker role types include:

Use of Auxiliary Playing Position Role Types

Auxiliary playing position role types give a team more flexibility when assigning combinations of tactical roles that achieve a good tactical balance. This is because assigning an auxiliary playing position role type to a player can enable the team to utilise one or more particular component role types in two or more positional areas using a single player.

For example, a roaming, skilled, ball-playing and shot-taking left centre midfielder is:

The component role types that can be utilised in an auxiliary playing position depend on the nature of the auxiliary playing position role type, as follows: