On this years Football Manager 2018, Sports Interactive have introduced some new exotic roles for us all to use. Some of these roles you might have heard the names mentioned before, especially if you’re into the tactical side of thing. The new roles are;
- CM – Mezzala (Support & Attack Duties)
- MR/ML – Inverted Winger (Support & Attack Duties)
- DMCL/R – Segundo Volante (Support & Attack Duties)
- CM – Carrilero (Support Duty)
If you are familiar with the name of these roles and have an idea of what they might be in real world football, then it’s probably wise to not attach the same meanings to what the roles are in Football Manager. The reason for this being they translate differently and have different meanings based on what country you might be from. Or the definition changes depending which footballing circles you follow, even the top football writers have different definitions for them. Not only that but some of the roles are ‘older’ type roles and have changed over the years. Either way, the naming of these roles is likely to cause a split amongst Football Managers, that’s why it’s best to put that issue to the side and focus on what the roles actually entail which we will focus on slightly further down the article. Try and focus on the description of the role rather than the name. As the descriptions this year for the new roles make it clear what the basics of the role is and what it’s supposed to do.
Two of the new roles, the Carrilero and Mezzala have hardcoded special behaviours in the match engine, which will see them play slightly wider than the other central midfielder roles available in the game.
If you want to use a Carrilero or Mezzala in your tactics then it’s important to remember that the roles can only be used from the outer midfield (MCL/R) positions if you use three or more central midfielders. For example if you played a flat 4-4-2 then you can have both midfielders as a Carrilero or Mezzala. However if you used a 3-5-2 then the central midfielder wouldn’t have either of these roles available but the outer two central midfielders would. It sounds more confusing than it really is but the above should explain why you might not be able to see the role initially.
Another role that has restrictions is the Segundo Volante which is not available from the traditional defensive midfielder (DMC) slot. To use this role you have to have them offset in the DMCL/R positions for it to be available because traditionally the role is never really used without another defensive midfielder by its side. Often it’s either an anchorman type role that accompanies it or a second Segundo Volante.
On top of those, we also see two other roles that were in previous games, have a slightly change to them.
- AML & AMR – Trequartista (Attack)
- RB/LB or RWB /LWB – Inverted Wing Back (Defend, Support, Attack & Automatic)
The Trequartista can now be used from not only the attacking midfield (AMC) position, but also from attacking midfield right and left positions. We can also now use the inverted wingback from the fullback position and the wingback positions. Both of the above roles still function the same way as before, it’s just now we have more positions to choose the role from.
The Mezzala is unique because it’s the only central midfielder role that actively seeks to move into the half space due to hardcoded behaviour. Similar to a Box-To-Box Midfielder but with less defensive responsibility, the Mezzala gets into attacking positions that an Inside Forward would usually be found in. He is a cross between an inside forward and a box to box midfielder, a player who uses flair, guile and ball skills to unlock defences while operating in the half spaces between the attackers and midfielders. While he serves to offer support to the defensive phase this is limited to being a passing outlet rather than a more physical presence that protects them.
When Antonio Conte was the Italian national team manager he would use Emanuele Giaccherini, who was a functional player, a player that would drift out wide but wasn’t a left wing back, (that was Darmian’s role) in the Mezzala role.
Giaccherini is a consistent, energetic, quick, hard-working, and versatile player. He is capable of aiding his team defensively, but also offensively, due to his ability to make attacking runs,contributing with goals, and assists, due to his reliable distribution. A technically gifted player, he was initially deployed as a winger on either flank early in his career, due to his dribbling ability, agility, acceleration, and balance, which aid him in beating players in one on one situations. He is capable of playing anywhere in midfield, however, and has more recently been deployed as a central midfielder(Mezzala), as a wing-back, or as an attacking midfielder.
In Game Description
This is the modern interpretation of the Mezzala, a central player that likes to drift wide and operate in half-spaces. The Mezzala is essentially a central/half winger, who likes to do his defending slightly further up the field, although he does generally have less defensive responsibility.
With a Support duty, the Mezzala will seek to balance his responsibilities between more traditional midfield work and the inclination to contribute in the attacking third.
With an Attack duty, the Mezzala will often leave his midfield responsibilities to his team-mates whilst mainly looking to make attacking contributions in the final third.
System that suit this role are (not limited to, this is just to give you a general idea) ones that have a high press and press from the front. The Mezzala excels at engaging players in the final third to put pressure on the opposition’s defenders.
It also suits systems that use a central midfield trio and needs someone to be a bit more adventurous and gungho (on an attack duty). It can even work in a two-man midfield too with the right balance or cover for how he could potentially leave you exposed at times.
This role is self explanatory and most of you will already know what it involves.
In Game Description
The Inverted Winger aims to beat his man out wide before cutting into the attacking third to open up space for overlapping full-backs and to subsequently overload retreating defenders. The Inverted Winger works best when the player’s strongest foot is opposite to the side of the pitch he’s playing on
With a Support Duty, the Inverted Winger will cut diagonally across the defence to play the ball through the middle while overloading defenders and defensive midfielders ahead of the penalty area.
With an Attack Duty, the Inverted Winger will run directly at the defence with the options of shooting, passing or crossing as he moves into the attacking third.
When Ramires was at Chelsea and Benfica he would often be one of the players who fulfilled this role in a diamond midfield. He was a very disciplined player but would run into the group for the team, filling spaces and gaps between the lines.
It will require players who are hard working because the role is a workmanlike one, which requires the player to be very disciplined and tactically aware. The role will provide support in the wide areas in narrow formations.
In Game Description
The Carrilero – or “Shuttler” – is a supporting role more often than not utilised as part of a midfield three, or as two central midfielders in a diamond midfield. It is the job of these shuttlers to cover lateral areas of the pitch and link the defensive midfield area with the attacking midfield area. This is what separates the Carrileros from a Box-To-Box Midfielder, as they are not expected to shuttle between boxes, but merely between lines of the midfield. The role is that of a runner but also a water carrier for the team, should the team need it.
One of the main benefits of the Carrilero role is of that in narrow formations. The role offers a little width to these kind of formations as well as protecting or providing cover to the wide areas. This doesn’t mean they’ll always cover the wide areas though as it will hinder on the other roles and duties you’ve used in the tactic. The Carrilero will still have to cover central areas while offering cover to the wide areas, so be sensible when using the role and realistic about how demanding you are. If you expect him to be superman and fill two roles simultaneously without having the correct balance elsewhere to allow for this, then you could have major issues.
Out of all the midfield roles we have available currently on the game, the Segundo Volante is probably the most complete role of them all. It’s a demanding role and takes a certain type of player to pull it off. The player must have the attributes similar to those of the Box to Box midfielder for attacking situations. Then when the ball is lost he needs the attributes that you’d expect to find in a Defensive Midfielder, hence why I class it as a complete midfielder role.In recent years players such as Ramires, Paulinho, Hernanes and Elias all played this role while still playing in the Brazilian leagues.
A more recent European player you might be familiar with, playing this role, would be Bastian Schweinsteiger.
In Game Description
The ‘Segundo Volante’ is different from the Deep Lying Playmaker in that their role is primarily a defensive one, and is also different from the Ball Winning Midfielder, in that they often run with the ball, or arrive with a late run, into the opposition area in much the same way a Box-to-Box Central Midfielder does. It’s a common role for those familiar with Brazilian football and team often field two of them or pair them with an anchorman.
With a support duty, the Segundo Volante will look to support the attack whilst picking and choosing his opportunities to arrive late in the opposition’s penalty area.
With an attack duty, the Segundo Volante will get further forward and frequently look to arrive late in the opposition’s penalty area as well as attempting more shots on goal.
You’d expect a Segundo Volante to help start and support attacks, while also chipping in with assists and scoring too. The role suits systems where you might lack central midfielders like in a deep 4-2-3-1. The player would play like a central midfielder in possession of the ball but should act like a defensive midfielder when out of possession. It’s worth noting that if you use this role on an attack duty the player might seems ‘reckless’ in a positional sense because he will be going very high into the final third of the pitch and taking up those kind of positions. So if you lose the ball, you could find him struggling to regain his natural position.