When playing my 4-3-3 formation in Football Manager, the centre-backs are an essential part of my team's defence.
A good centre-back should possess a range of attributes that allow them to defend effectively and help the team to keep clean sheets. Here are some of the key attributes I look for in a centre-back.
The ability to win the ball through tackles is essential for a centre-back. Look for players with high tackling attributes, as they will be able to stop the opposition from advancing. In lower leagues a can accept an 8, but most often I never accept a CB with a rating lower than 10.
Good positioning allows a centre-back to anticipate the opposition’s movements and intercept the ball before an attack can develop. Look for players with high positioning attributes, as they will be able to read the game well and position themselves effectively.
Marking is crucial for a centre-back, as they will be responsible for marking the opposition’s forwards and preventing them from scoring. Look for players with high marking attributes, as they will be able to track their opponent’s movements and stay close to them.
Centre-backs often need to use their physicality to outmuscle the opposition’s forwards and win the ball. Look for players with high strength attributes, as they will be able to hold off attackers and win physical battles. You don’t want a CB that gets bullied by the opposition strikers.
Centre-backs are often called upon to clear the ball from the air, particularly from set-pieces. Heading also depends on the players’ Jumping Reach and Height, so it’s tougher to look for a specific rating in a CB.
Good decision-making is important for a centre-back, as they will need to make split-second decisions about when to tackle, when to intercept, and when to clear the ball. They will need to to make good decisions under pressure. In lower leagues I accept an 8 in rating, but the higher the better.
In most cases, my Centre Back’s height should be at least 1.83 meters (6 feet) or taller, although this rule doesn’t always have to be enforced. Some shorter Centre Backs have excelled at the highest levels of the game, such as the legendary Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro, who stood at just 5’9″ (1.75 meters). He won the Ballon d’Or in 2006.
Personally, Pace and acceleration are important attributes for a centre-back in a 4-3-3 formation with a high defensive line.
Pace and acceleration can be useful in situations where a centre-back needs to chase down a fast striker or winger. Having good pace and acceleration can be beneficial for a centre-back, especially if they are playing against a team that likes to play a high-pressing game or use fast counter-attacks to catch teams out. A centre-back with good pace and acceleration can help to nullify these threats and prevent the opposition from scoring.
A decent tackler with good pace and acceleration compared with the league average. Overall, a very well-rounded but average defender, who consistently put in 6.9 and 7.x performances.
A slightly better tackler than Andreas Tomaselli. Not as fast, but a very consistent performer who perfectly slots into my left-hand side as a left footed centre-back.
Overall, a good centre-back in a 4-3-3 DM wide should be a well-rounded player with a combination of defensive, physical, and mental attributes that allow them to defend effectively and help the team to keep clean sheets.