Left footed right backs. Right footed left backs. As common now as your striker and your centre midfielder. Gone are the days of a defensive fullback, these days attack is the best form of defense and it starts at the back.
Being a Newcastle United fan, I’ve become accustomed to watching my fullbacks be of the wrong footed variety and at times, yes, it is frustrating but other times its just enjoyable. Not many things in life are better than watching your fullback glide along the wing only to cut in and beat a man. That may be more a reflection of my life than of fullbacks, but the comment still stands. But there are many who want their left backs, left footed and their right backs right footed.
For many ‘old school’ football fans change is something they don’t like. Modern tactics and philosophy’s are hard to adapt too, and they like players being rigid in their position, and perfectly suited to that role. Naturally this means the wrong footed fullback is an idea they are uneasy with and are generally against. The only reason you could possibly want a fullback on his weaker side is for attack, and where does this leave your defense? With a big hole in it is your answer.
It was only Sunday, during the Tyne-Wear derby that I had to see just what an attacking fullback can do to your back line. With them gallivanting up the line my team (Newcastle) conceded three goals that all could have been prevented had we had fullbacks that do their original job and defend. Which is what leaves me torn on the situation. Do I want fullbacks to contribute a few goals or assists? Or do I want fullbacks that help to keep a clean sheet every few weeks?
For me, I want a clean sheet every few weeks. Conceding goals is a dangerous thing, because, well frankly your striker might have a bad day at the office. Then before you know it, you’ve lost the match. But if you keep a clean sheet and your striker is misfiring you come away with a point. Which is why I believe that your right and left fullbacks must be suited to their position and be able to use their strongest foot on whichever side they play.
It is a very subjective topic and one that splits opinions of football fans around the world I dare say. I want to know your thoughts on the matter and you can send me them via the comments section or via twitter at my handle @CallumKane__