4 New Football Manager 2018 Player Roles Introduced; Discover the characteristics of Mezz’ala, Carrilero, Inverted Winger & Segundo Volante in FM18
Who can believe three years have past since new player roles were introduced to Football Manager. Then we got to experience the wide playmaker and the inverted wingback. In the time that has past we’ve seen both minor and major modifications to the existing player roles. This year there will be 4 new Football Manager 2018 player roles that deserves an explanation.
Here we let you learn the characteristics of the mezz’ala, carrilero, inverted winger and the segundo volante, which were introduced in the FM18 feature video looking at the new tactics options and improvements to the tactical side of FM18.
In order to provide you with as much information about the new Football Manager 2018 player roles, we have teamed up with Paul aka The Northman (our new co-writer). As you will discover, the new player roles of Football Manager 2018 looks to solve some of the issues you may have had to re-create specific historical tactics and systems.
The introduction of the mezzala, the carrilero and the segundo volante seems to me are all added simply because Sports Interactive and those working with the new match engine has finally solved and enabled diagonal and horizontal movements – a subtle feature that has been lacking until now.
The Mezz’ala aka Mezzala
In Football Manager 2018, the Mezzala enters the reckoning with the modern interpretation of the classic Italian role. But, what is a Mezzala, is it another one of these continental named roles finding its way into our Football Manager, the simple answer, yes. How ever much we dream that the world of football evolves around England, this is not the case with many countries leading the way in tactical planning and naming. Italians and many other European and often South American countries can instantly tell you the difference between a regista and a trequartista, the defending and attacking roles already a fixture inside the FM tactics screen.
The role of Mezzala may be making its debut in FM18 but do not be fooled into thinking it is a new style of play, the Mezzala or Interno as it is sometimes known has been around the European and English game for years. The Mezzala loves to drift wide with the ball, a player who almost becomes a winger in the quest for space. Space on the football field can win you games and often the Mezzala is the man you put your hopes on to win you these games. Giving the Mezzala role to a key player in your team gives him the freedom to move, the freedom to look for space on the field to create chances for others or take chances himself.
In Football Manager, the Mezzala comes with two options; Support and Attack.
With support, the player taking the Mezzala role needs to have the abilities to know he is a team player, he is needed to balance between finding the space to burst forward and create for the team as well as getting back into shape and defending in the shape set by the coaching team. This is a important role, it can be a selection which can win you points if successful and cost you points if not, carrying a weak link who you put to much pressure on could come back to bite you, you will need someone with very high work rate and concentration to play the support role well.
With the attacking option, my first thought would be Mesut Özil, a player who you could use in a three man midfield and allow to drift wide, a player who you would trust to pick a pass, a player you would trust to win you the game but also a player you would not trust on a support role, referring back to the above, I would believe Mesut Özil would be the man who could cost you defensively, if you need that solid three man midfield. With the attack role, he will often leave his defensive responsibilities to the rest of the team, relying on them to win the ball back, relying on them to nullify the oppositions attacking force and leaving the Mezzala, the attacking Mezzala to focus on what he does best, creating going forward.
Definition of the FM18 Carrilero
Carrilero or the ‘shuttler’ is a supporting role more often than utilized 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 a Box-to-Box midfielder, as they are not expected to shuttle between boxes, but merely between lines of the midfield.
Duties Available: support
The traditional carrilero is most known for the Spanish speaking audience as what we would describe as the wingback. But in FM18, the Carrilero will be available in the central midfield. Despite the similar name, the behavior and role description is quite different from the Brazilian wingback most known by Daniel Alves, Nilton Santos and Djalma Santos.
The central midfield Carrilero we hereby speaks of had its origin in Argentina when the W-M formation started to evolve, making its progress from 4-2-4 into what we today would recognize as a 4-3-1-2 formation, between the late 1930s to the early-mid 1960s, as defensive disciple and structures and shapes started to make an appearance in Argentina, mostly due to the influence the catenaccio system had on the game. The 4-3-1-2 today is best known as the classical Argentine formation, used for the first time in the 1966 World Cup featuring the carrilero role we now will experience in Football Manager 2018.
If we assess the 4-3-1-2 formation, it features a midfield diamond and could be described as a rather narrow formation, where the fullbacks are the only ones who provides width. The carrilero’s were used on both sides of the defensive midfielder in the 3-man midfield playing furthest from the center, but in reality works using midfield diamond formations or the archetype Brazilian 4-2-2-2 formation or the 4-2-4 where lack of width in the midfield strata is apparent.
In the Argentinian 4-3-1-2 formation of the mid 60s, the carrilero would support the fullbacks by making sideways movements from the edge of the center channel to the flank and link up play of the defensive line and the players looking to make an impact in the final third. They would also shuffle up and down the pitch to the side of the defensive midfielder/anchor man. Because of the formation and shape, the carrileros needed to cover large areas as the huge spaces within the formation in the midfield strata forced them to make more lateral movements than all the other players. Due to their role, they were often termed as ventilador-wings, best translated into English as fan-wings.
The carrilero may be described as something between a defensive midfielder, roaming playmaker and a box to box midfielder. The only difference from the box-to-box midfielder is that they won’t surge forward that frequently as his job will be on cover vacant spaces.
When the fullbacks move forward, the carrilero needs to cover the space left by them, in order to reduce the risk of the opposite team to counter down the wide channel left open, as they needs to be positioned in a way it defends both the center channel and the flank. Due to their positioning they will most often cover the half spaces – making it easy to eliminate the counter attacking treat down the flank while defending the space left by the central players.
The carrilero of Football Manager 2018 will be available in support duty and will roam from position by default. It’s nicknamed the ‘shuttler’ – a role that works their way around the pitch, providing defensive solidity both in the middle and towards the flank, outnumbering the opponent in the middle of the park while being able to thread passes and retain possession to the players both in more advance areas, to the sides and behind him.
Key to his playing style will be high work rate, great stamina and excellent positional awareness. As an important player in a two man midfield he would require the skills to dispossess opponents, eliminate counter attacking treats when the team is in possession and finally be an outlet when play moves into the final third and space becomes congested for the more advanced players.
From my point of view, the carrilero role should be considered to be given to a tactical intelligent player with the ability to cover huge amount of area for the full 90 minutes.
Sporting de Club Portugal midfielder William Carvalho, Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, Moussa Dembele at Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid’s Koke or any tireless midfielder with great awareness are some of the players I believe capable of performing well in this role.
The Inverted Winger
The Inverted Winger; Arjen Robben, Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale
The three players named are people I would link to an Inverted Winger, Gareth Bale at Tottenham, Cristiano Ronaldo when he first joined Real Madrid and Arjen Robben his whole career have all played this role perfectly but what is an Inverted Winger, it certainly doesn’t have the same continental name as Mezzala or trequartista but that does not make it any less special to watch.
The Inverted Winger is something that has come to provenance in the game over the last decade with the natural thoughts of playing your right footed pacey winger on the right a thing of the past, many clubs often utilise the skills in certain players by moving the left footed player to the right and the right footed player to the left. Arjen Robben is a player who deserves a lot of praise for this, someone who has done this his whole career and done it well, Arjen Robben always goes to his left foot, you know he will be cutting in but still, opposition can’t prevent him getting the shot away. The slalom styled run is something as a supporter you can not help but admire, starting on the right wing and attacking the full back, moving down the right with a fake before ducking inside onto his left foot.
In FM18, the role will have two options, Support and Attack.
With the support role, the Inverted Winger will look to play the ball more, passing it instead of shooting, looking for the striker instead of the back of the net, often something you don’t see with any of the three mentioned. Do you want to implement this inverted winger with the hope of him passing or scoring the goals, the support duty is best used in my opinion when you have a full back who can get forward, the inverted winger cutting inside earlier would free up space for him to get up and down the wide areas and maybe find more space.
The attacking duty can mean one thing, get the ball, run inside and shoot, something you want to see an inverted winger doing in my books, if you are selecting the wide player and giving him the inverted winger role ahead of the other basic wide player roles, this is because you want him to shoot more. The attacking option is the one to use, get your winger running direct, running straight down the throat of the opposition and putting them on the back foot, testing the keeper and hopefully winning the game for you.
The Segundo Volante
Definition of the FM18 Segundo Volante
The volante can most easily be translated into the steering wheel in English.
The ‘segundo volante’ is difference from the deep-lying playmaker in that his role is primarily a defensive one best suited to being paired with an anchor man, and is also different from the ball winning midfielder, in that he often runs with the ball, or arrive with a late run, into the opposition area in much the same way a box-to-box midfielder does.
Duties Available: defend, support, attack
The last player role to fixture in Football Manager 2018 is the segundo volante. In order to fully understand the role, we need to go back in time, to when the W-M formation, or a variant of it was finally making waves in Brazilian football. The W-M formation is perhaps best known utilized by Herbert Chapman at Arsenal in the 1920s. Before that the 2-3-5 formation had been used for decades, but because of a change in the offside law in 1925 ‘the system’ became the preferred formation. The W-M formation usually use 3 defenders, 2 half backs, 2 inside forwards and 3 forwards, where two wingers provides the width.
As always, individuals interpretations impacted on the player positioning and how the system were used. At Flamengo, an adopted version most known today as ‘the diagonal‘ were adopted. It shouldn’t be more than a minor tweak to the W-M, but instead of a midfield box, the players were positioned in a parallelogram. For the first time we could discover a deep-lying half back. Carlos Volante were the one that got the job, and to this day, the term Volante describes a defensive midfielder in Brazil.
While Carols Volante could be described as the primeiro volante – a player that would hold position in front of the back three with a defensive mentality looking to break up play, regain possession and make sure the team is defensive solid, letting the advanced players utilize their creativity, I believe the segundo volante in defend duty in Football Manager 2018 will resemble the primeiro volante in reality.
The segundo volante is the player positioned to the left of the primeiro volante. He’s a more creative player instructed to get forward more often. As you’ll see from the illustration, the player is in a more advanced positioned, meaning he could easily support the attacking forward, the inside forward in front of him and the winger. Since the diagonal formation could resemble the Brazilian 4-2-4 formation as we know it, it’s important to understand the necessity of the two in the center of the park to be able to both regain possession and retain it. Similar to the previous talked about carrilero, the players needed to cover large spaces, but not in the same fashion, as the system had players connected more closer together.
Relating to the W-M formation, the two man midfield meant that the half backs or central midfielders needed to both being able to track back in defensive transition phase and surge forward in the attacking transition phase. By using a primeiro volante and a segundo volante within the diagonal, the roles and instructions were now split up. It did not only free up one of the fullbacks who could now move forward when the team were in possession, but also helps alleviating pressure on the more advanced players as one of them could move forward with the ball, meaning the team were still able to get five players or more into the final third.
The Football Manager 2018 segundo volante player role comes with three duties available, defend, support and attack, and is only select-able in the DM-strata, similar to how it was used in Brazil. Despite his deep positioning, he will be able to get forward in the attacking transition phase.
The segundo volante of Football Manager 2018 is more or less a complete player, able to break up opposition moves, become a fulcrum in the attack whilst using his energy to alleviate the defensive discipline required of the players in front of him. His job is to link up the defence with the attack, meaning he should be able to take use of the ball once he has regained possession of it. From my point of view, it seems he would require as much work rate and stamina as a box-to-box midfielder requires, the anticipation and positioning of a half-back and finally the tackling level required of the defensive midfielder.
While the defend duty resembles the primeiro volante, an attacking segundo volante will make surging runs into the opposition area more often, meaning he would become a presence in the final third. I would imagine, the player could resemble how Patrick Viera played in the good old days, not afraid to move forward with the ball and utilize the timings of his runs to overload the opponent in the final third by late runs from deep. He’s also best known for slamming them in from long range shots using power and technique.
Similar players to watch for in Football Manager 2018 are; Tiemoue Bakayoko of Chelsea, Victor Wanyama of Tottenham Hotspurs and Adrien Rabiot of Paris Saint-Germain, but a player like Fernandinho of Man City may also excel in this role.