Creating Tactics – The Book of Roles for #FM19 (2)

Creating Tactics – The Book of Roles #FM19 (2)

The Book of Roles continues with me covering these roles for FM19. Included: IWB, CWB, Anchorman, Defensive Midfielder, Ball Winning Midfielder

Inverted Wingback

  • A cross between a defensive midfelder and a fullback
  • Positions himself in the defensive midfield tier when the team has the ball and they are moving from defence to midfield
  • On defend duty he will hold position, unless you have the overlap instruction, which could influence him to down the flanks if you are in control of the opposition third
  • On support/attack duty he can end up attacking the box centrally. In some cases he may move further than a central midfielder on support.

This role requires specific requirements to work, failing which they default to playing as wingbacks. This is done by design by SI

  • If used with two defensive midfielders, the role defaults to playing like a wingback because the defensive midfield strata is already occupied
  • If only one defensive midfielder is used but he is not centrally placed the IWB closest to the DM will default to playing as a wingback
  • If there are no wingers/wide midfielders playing in the AML/AMR/MR/MR slot, then the IWB defaults to playing as a wingback
  • Real Life Example: Phillip Lahm, (Bayern under Pep Guardiola)

Here we are playing with two IWB, behind two wingers, note how the IWB’s are positioned slightly ahead of the DM.  These IWB’s have been given the overlap instruction.

We are in control of the opposition space, and the IWB goes forward to overlap and receive the pass out wide

IWB’s can also break through lines quickly, here our IWB has dribbled all the way from his starting position, out to the right flank, even before the other IWB has got into position.

He holds the ball long enough for the rest of the team to catch up, plays the ball to the central midfielder

The central midfielder moves wide to play the ball out back to the IWB as he comes in free to cross the ball.

This IWB was played on support, with the overlap instruction to create this style of play.

However this kind of dynamic attack also has its risks.  His driving runs can sometimes leave your flanks exposed.  To use this role effectively you will need a technically capable player who can do the task without losing the ball. He will also need to have good acceleration, stamina and work rate. When used with high defensive lines, choosing the wrong player for this role can be catastrophic.

Complete Wingback

  • Along with the IWB this is the other wingback role that has roam from position making their play-style unpredictable
  • CWB can cut inside or go wide
  • Suited for players with good technical, mental and physical attributes.
  • Since they roam they need to have good decisions to make the right call whether to go wide or narrow.
  • They start from wider positions and will dribble more.

It’s worth noting that one can play with  up to 3 defensive midfielders in the DM Strata but whether it’s a good idea or not I leave it to your imagination.

Anchoring Defences

Anchor Man

  • The most disciplined defensive midfielder
  • Positions himself in front of the two central defenders and does not venture too far from them.
  • Plays simple passes and does not do anything extraordinary
  • Is a great choice when you want to move the ball safely to playmakers positioned in central midfield
  • One of the best roles in the game for disciplined defences
  • Effective against lone man striker formations in isolating them as passing options

An anchorman’s position in front of the central defenders and in the opponent’s third when you have possession

Forming a tight partnership with the central defenders, not expected to close down players on the flank

An anchorman will not venture too far away from his defenders

Defensive Midfielder

  • Another excellent role for protecting your defences
  • A bit more creative than the Anchorman and might try longer passes and risky passes
  • He may close down further away than an anchorman.
  • If there are other players closing down in midfield then this could lead to complications as the DM may also enter the mix leaving you vulnerable.
  • Ideally you want someone with good positioning, concentration and decisions to play this role, because they can sometimes commit to actions that reflect poor decisions.
  • This may be a generic role but it is also a simpler role without being locked into player instructions can be a good option for more creative players, as they wouldn’t be shoe-horned into a particular playstyle
  • Real life example: Javi Martinez

A defensive midfielder generally occupies the same area as an anchorman

Here the DM has joined other roles in midfield to close down a player even though the team is playing on balanced and he is on defend duty. This leaves the defence vulnerable. With a good defensive line and the right players this may not be an issue, but it’s worth paying attention to.

Ball Winning Midfielder

  • A very interesting role, this player is a disruptor
  • He breaks down play, has a big area of influence and needs to be used with care.
  • If used in the defensive midfield tier, he can leave the central defenders to close down the flanks.
  • If used in midfield as a support duty he can close down further up the pitch.
  • A good position to use him is in central midfielder on support duty. Here he can disrupt other sides from building midfield transitions smoothly.

Here we have a BWM who has left the area in front of the central defenders unprotected as he goes to close down the opposition in their half. 

In your own half he could leave one of the central defenders unprotected as he goes to help out the flanks. Note his positioning and compare that to the anchorman and defensive midfielder. While he can be a very good player at winning the ball, you will still need good players with good positioning and concentration around him.

The combination of these roles and the use of FB(S) and FB(D) allow us to build play out of the back.

When we get to the final third our trio of midfielders do a fairly good job of controlling the centre while we are safe down the flanks. This gives us a chance to deliver crosses from deep.

Look out for my next post.  My earlier post contained FB, CD, BPD, Libero, No Nonsense CD, No Nonsense FB. You can check that post here.


  1. Great series – There is a great need for series like this because many of us are on auto without understanding Roles and Duties and how they operate. Guess Midfield maybe next looking forward to it. Getting a bit fed up with my midfield (4231) getting ripped apart with one pass or player on speed dribbling through right onto my Central Defenders. I used Manes Revenge which was good but the BWM (S) choo choo train with a DLP (D) did not work with my players. Now I am using two DLP (D) to hold the midfield together.

    My question when you come to Midfield will be about the DLP (D). The description includes the phrase including pinpoint passes to initiate an attack. Will the DLP (D) perform pinpoint passes without any alteration to player instructions (hardcoded) or does risky pases have to be put on ?

    Regards Mike

    1. What you could do instead is go back and try the FB on Inverted Wing Back on DF on the side your having the issue,

      Alternatively I play with an Achor Man on Defend to nullify the attacks in IW/IF/IWB on attack

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