Football Manager – What makes a good centre-back?

While that tricky winger or decisive striker may steal the headlines for your team, the importance of possessing at least one although ideally two or three strong and decisive centre-backs cannot be ignored.

Centre-backs are charged with the responsibility of nullifying the threat posed primarily by the opposition strikers and if you can form an effective partnership, the job of shutting out your opponent’s will become a whole lot easier.

5 Key Attributes


The lifeblood of a centre-back is undoubtedly associated with his ability to go into a challenge and come out with the ball. A centre-back that struggles to put in an effective tackle is of little or no use to you, while those that have a higher tackling rating will not only win their fair share of challenges but they will also concede less fouls.


It goes without saying but a defender with a high marking attribute will be more suited to a man-marking system. If you want your centre-halves to get nice and tight to the opposition strikers affording them not even an inch of room then look for those players that have between 17-20 for marking.


While it is not gospel that a centre-back should be commanding in the air, it definitely contributes towards the makings of the very best defenders. Look out for a player’s height and also their ability to jump when focusing specifically on the heading attribute. 


What you don’t want when looking for a centre-back to sit at the heart of your defence is a player that will shy away from a tackle and not put their foot in where it hurts. With this in mind keep an eye on the bravery attribute and make sure you consider those centre-back’s that will put themselves on the line for their teammates.


It’s not a difficult task to explain why a centre-back would need strength. When facing up against a tall and imposing striker it will be necessary for your centre-back to be strong enough to mix it up a bit. At the other end of the spectrum, a centre-back with good strength will find it easier to muscle off weaker players, rendering them a serious force to be reckoned with.

For more detailed information on mental, technical and physical attributes, head over to the ‘FM Player Attributes’ post.

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