FM24 Wing-Back vs Full-Back: What’s the Difference?

Wing-backs in Football Manager are preferred in a back five formation, giving them extra defensive support to move into advanced positions than the traditional Full-back. On the other hand, Full-backs are positioned in a back four as wide defenders to defensively cover the flank.

Although mostly identical in their approach to the game, the two wide defensive role shares some distinct characteristics that make them effective in different situations. 

Today, we’ll explore the two roles and figure out how they operate on the pitch. 

Wing-back vs Full-back: Key Differences

Wing-backs are more attacking-minded players, pushing forward to provide width in the attacking phase and delivering dangerous crosses. They play a crucial role in supporting the midfield and overlapping the wingers. 

Compared to wing-backs, full-backs are more defensively oriented, focusing on marking opponents and supporting the central defenders. 

Both roles differ in attributes, positioning, instructions, and traits.

Let’s compare them head-to-head.

CharacteristicsWing-BackFull-back
MovementMoves further up the pitch to support attackGenerally stays back to support defense
AttackingHigh attacking involvementModerate attacking involvement
Defensive ContributionModerate defensive involvementPrimary focus on defending
Work RateHigher work rateModerate work rate
PositioningStays wideStays neutrally positioned
CrossingCrosses from BylineCrosses from Deep
AttributesRequires good crossing, dribbling, and staminaStrong defensive attributes are important
TacticsFits well in attacking tactics with widthSuits balanced or more defensive tactics
OverlapsFrequently overlaps with wingers and forwardsRarely overlaps, focuses on staying in position

Wing-back vs Full-back: Detailed Differences

Now that we have a baseline idea of the differences between the two roles, let’s take a detailed approach to measure the two roles against each other. 

Player Attributes

Wing-Backs in Football Manager must possess high physicality to execute their role effectively. This includes high physical stamina, and work rate to cover extensive ground during matches.

They also need speed, acceleration, and agility for quick defensive tracking and attacking runs.

Regarding technical attributes, excellent crossing, and one-on-one dribbling skills are essential for wing-backs.

 Additionally, their passing, vision, and decision-making abilities are crucial for quick and accurate choices in possession.

Defensively, Wing-Backs should excel in tackling, positioning, and game reading. Anticipating and intercepting passes while marking opponents effectively are vital defensive skills they must possess.

Highlighted attributes for the wing-back role in football manager 24.

Full-backs require good pace, acceleration, and stamina to cover the flanks effectively both in defense and attack. 

Technical attributes such as crossing, passing, and technique are crucial for contributing to attacking moves and providing support to wingers. 

Solid defensive skills, including marking, tackling, and positioning, are essential for full-backs to thwart opponents’ attacks. 

Additionally, they benefit from having decent vision and decision-making abilities to make quick and accurate choices on the ball. 

Overall, a well-rounded full-back needs a balanced combination of physical, technical, and defensive attributes to be effective on the pitch.

Highlighted attributes for the full-back role in Football Manager 24.

Positioning

In Football Manager, wing-backs are usually deployed as wide midfielders with a primary focus on attacking contributions. Positioned slightly higher up the pitch than full-backs, they are tasked with providing width and creating crossing opportunities. 

Their advanced positioning allows them to support the attack by overlapping with wingers and forwards, creating numerical superiority in wide areas. This movement not only stretches the opposition’s defense but also provides additional passing options for the team’s midfielders.

In contrast, full-backs typically occupy a more defensive role and are positioned deeper on the pitch. 

They act as the last line of defense before the goalkeeper and are responsible for marking the opposition wingers or wide-attacking players. 

Full-backs need to possess strong defensive attributes such as marking, tackling, and positioning to effectively deal with the threats posed by the opponents’ wide players.

Attacking Involvement

In terms of attacking involvement, wing-backs are more proactive and look to make forward runs to support the attack regularly. They are expected to deliver crosses and assists, often acting as additional wingers. 

Full-backs have a more balanced role, providing defensive stability while contributing to the attack when opportunities arise.

Tactical Suitability

The tactical flexibility of wingbacks is noteworthy as they can adapt to different formations and roles. They excel in attacking tactics that emphasize width and can be deployed as attacking full-backs or complete wingbacks. 

Their movement up the pitch can be strategically adjusted based on the team’s tactical approach, providing versatility in the attacking phase.

For full-backs, their primary objective is to support the defense and protect against opposition attacks down the flanks. 

They are well-suited for tactics that prioritize solid defensive stability, such as when playing against formidable opponents or maintaining a lead in crucial matches.

Player Instructions

Wing-backs are given more attacking freedom and encouraged to push forward, deliver crosses from advanced positions, and run wide with the ball. 

Player instruction for the wing-back role.
Wing-back player instruction

On the other hand, full-backs are instructed to maintain defensive discipline, deliver crosses from deeper areas, and make standard decisions with the ball.  

Player intructions for the full-back role.
Full-back player instruction
Individual InstructionsWing-backsFull-backs
Freedom of MovementGet Further ForwardHold Position
Cross From BylineDeep
When Player Has the BallRun Wide with BallStandard

Useful Traits

Last but not least, we’re going to compare the suitable traits for both roles. 

Useful traits for Wing-backs

Brings Ball Out of Defense: This trait is valuable for wing-backs as it allows them to confidently carry the ball forward from defense into midfield, initiating attacks and creating overloads in wide areas.

Get Forward Whenever Possible: Players with this trait are always eager to join the attack, providing width and additional attacking options to the team. Their ability to support the offense can lead to more dynamic and fluid attacking movements.

Hugs Line: Players hugging the touchline are effective at stretching the opposition’s defense horizontally. This creates more space for the team’s attacking players to exploit and opens up passing lanes for intricate build-up play.

It’s also a very beneficial trait for wingers in FM.

Knocks Ball Past Opponent: This trait showcases the player’s ability to use their pace and skill to beat opponents with the ball at their feet. It can lead to successful dribbles and penetration into the attacking third.

Useful traits for Full-backs

Mark Opposition Tightly: Players with this trait excel in defensive duties, closely tracking and marking their direct opponents. It helps to nullify the threat of opposition wingers or attacking players operating in their zone.

Crosses Early: Players with this trait focus on delivering early crosses into the box, catching the opposition defense off-guard. Early crosses can be effective in finding teammates in good goal-scoring positions.

Tries to Play Way Out of Trouble: This trait highlights the player’s composure and decision-making under pressure. Instead of clearing the ball aimlessly, they prefer to play their way out of defensive situations by finding a teammate with a pass.

Inverted full-backs can share some similar traits of the inverted winger role to be a more effective presence centrally. 

Want More Comparison Guides?

Loved what you read? 

Well, I just happened to cover two more comparisons like this!

You can check out my in-depth comparison between the inverted winger and inside forward

I’ve also got a piece about half-back and anchor comparison. Make sure to check that out too!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top