The term “half-back” fell out of use by the early 1970s and “midfield” was used in naming the positions that play around the middle third as in centre midfield and wide midfield. The centre midfield position has evolved further with the attacking midfield and defensive midfield variants being recognised in their own right. How-ever, the half-back principle has seen a resurgence with guys like Sergio Busquets and David Luiz playing in said role.
FM describes the role as follows:
The half back looks to serve a role somewhere between that of an aggressive sweeper and a defensive midfielder. With a Half Back, the central defenders themselves will push higher up the pitch while the Half Back drops deeper than a standard defensive midfielder and, in addition to his defensive duties, looks to offer an outlet for quickly recycling possession when the team’s attacking play breaks down.
The half-back in FM is typically a player who will find themselves supporting both their defence and their attack by positioning themselves to hold the midfield. Stamina is the most important attribute for this position as the player will find themselves covering a lot of the pitch, but his positioning, off the ball movement and defensive capabilities will be equally important.
That all sounds fantastic on paper, doesn’t it? Imagine the role working with two central defenders and Cafú / Roberto Carlos -esque wing-backs, surging forward. It really does sound ideal and something I was eager to experiment with. Unfortunately, SI have dropped the ball a bit in the actual implementing of the role. Observe.
I do get it, sort of… I really do… When the half-back drops back, it makes sense that the two defenders will drop wider a bit, to make room for the half-back. What makes no fucking sense at all, is that they maintain their wide shape when the half-back has ventured further forward… Imagine the carnage a long ball towards a fast striker down the center of the pitch could cause now… Why can’t the two central defenders maintain a more narrow defensive shape when their own team is on the offense? This is just asking for a lethal counter-attack.
How are we supposed to implement this role if SI can’t get it right in the ME?