Sep 18

What makes a good centre half?


Central defenders are the heart and soul of every team and are one of the most important aspects to your club. Get two of them and you will go a long way to getting those all-important ‘shut outs.’ Generally, there are two typical kinds of centre back – the powerhouse hard-man and the athletic type. Real life teams often build a foundation on top class partnerships, with these two types of defenders often capable of complementing each other perfectly. A real life example of this would be what many consider the best defensive partnership in England (if not the world) – Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United. I’ll use these examples to compare with a player that you might sign in Football Manager Live.

‘The Hard-Man’

puyol What makes a good centre half?
Every side needs that bit of grit and determination, especially at the back. The ‘Hard-Man’ is easily recognisable by his Bravery and Aggression. He must be aerially dominant, to nullify the threat of an opponent’s big target man. Strength is also a must and, as with all defenders, they must have good positional sense.

Bravery, Aggression, Jumping –16
Heading, Positioning, Strength – 15
Tackling, Marking – 14
Anticipation, Concentration – 12

Allow room for compromise for younger players.

‘The Athlete’

The biggest asset of this kind of defender is Pace and Acceleration, as well as the obvious ones – Tackling and Marking. He must be mobile to cover for any problems, mainly from speedy attackers. Anticipation is important too so the player knows when to move in to the more advanced positions. First Touch is a useful attribute, as is Agility.

Tackling, Marking, Strength – 15
Pace, Acceleration, Jumping – 14
Heading, Anticipation, Positioning – 13
First Touch, Agility – 12

As mentioned earlier, you may get away with certain stats being a little low if other stats even it up, or if the player is young or playing at a lower level.

As mentioned earlier, a good central defender (or two) can get you very far in FML. They are the players that your goalkeeper relies on the most. Can your ‘keeper trust his defenders?

Written By Tom Hales
Tom is a long-term FML player with an interest in scouting and finding great talent. You can follow the fortunes of his team at, his FML side's official blog.
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  • Tom Hales

    I'd say you've got it right with the stopper/covering tactical approaches although because Rio is also really good in the air, he could probably be the stopper, too. Millie would probably be the right person to answer that though, being the tactical guru that he is ;)

  • Guest

    Good article...

    But would you use same instructions for both players? (defend, stopper, covering). In terms of Rio/Vida, you would normally say Rio is covering and Vidic is stopper. But is this really working?

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