Tactically, in modern football, the full-backs have gained prominence and have come to achieve a transcendental role in the collective game both in defensive and offensive balance. Technicians like Pep Guardiola use them systematically with a double function. Although in Barcelona he made his first steps in this regard, it was at Bayern Munich and now in Manchester City where the Catalan coach has catapulted the skills of external defenders to make them key elements in his tactical organization.
Apart from reconverting positions and transforming a pure winger into a midfielder-organizer, as was the case with Lahm, a situation that extended to the very German team, one of Pep’s constants in recent years has been playing with the doubles The functions of their wings depending on the phases of the game and who is the keeper of the ball at all times. Lahm-Rafinha and / or Alaba were the first to jump from full-back to midfielder when Bayern started the game turning into pure and tough midfielders during the creation phase.
Upon arriving at City, Sagna and / or Clichy or Walker and / or Mendy-Zinchenko experienced the same movements, originally oriented as a defensive maneuver to prepare the team for an alleged loss of the ball and a counterattack by the rival.
Guardiola has curled the curl with João Cancelo. His signing last season for 65 million was already a risky bet. He had tiptoed through Valencia, Inter and Juventus and his coaches had always questioned his defensive abilities. Guardiola, from a distance, knew how to see something in him that Nuno, Marcelino, Spalletti or Allegri did not intuit.
Once he found that he adapted well to the line jump from his natural right-back position, he tried putting him on the left-back. He had already experimented with Lahm at Bayern with a different leg and the Portuguese, like the German then, has adapted well and has added to the team from that demarcation a plus in the organizational work.
His offensive spirit and good individual technique allow him, without any complex, to be just another midfielder. He chooses the passing lanes well, orients himself towards the opposite field and creates numerical and positional superiority in that wide area, one of the manager’s obsessions, who would be happy to form an eleven with a goalkeeper and ten midfielders.
When he is a right-back, Cancelo has a winger inside and when he starts from the left he centralizes his position to adapt to the interior functions through lane 10. Starting on a changed band allows him to use his right leg in the orientation of the passes and Also look for auction situations when joining the attack
Manchester City plays in starting position indistinctly with a midfielder or with two. It depends on whether he starts from 1-4-3-3 or 1-4-2-3-1 and also on how the opponent plays. Guardiola always takes a defense more than forwards the opposite. Rodrigo is fixed and the good performance of Cancelo as a medium allows Pep to put a more offensive player by his side, preferably Gundogan and sacrifice the second midfielder (Fernandinho). Cancello doubles skills and has become an essential piece in a good tactical sense.
Those who know the origin of the Cancello experiment assure that Juanma Lillo, incorporated this season to the City technical team, has a lot to do with the matter. If it were up to him, the team would be plagued with midfielders.