This is an issue which may initially seem quite low down on the list of things wrong with football and while racism, homophobia, the poor quality of refereeing, the price of a hotdogs and the development of young English talent are all important, I feel that no-one is worried about the demise of the once noble position of fullback.
When I started watching football there were fullbacks such as Stuart Pearce, Paulo Maldini and Paul Parker: players whose first priority was defending and who could tackle hard when required.
When it was possible they would venture forwards to support the winger and make the occasional cross into the box. These players were fairly anonymous and this was to their credit – they did a functional job for the team. Great partnerships were formed between fullbacks and their wingers – one of the best being between Beckham and Gary Neville who defended and attacked together. Continue reading