From Peter Rodrigues to Ricardo Pereira a “modern” full back job and how the style of play has developed

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In the early days before England won the World Cup in 1966, to play with a back three was the normal, to have flying wingers out there on the flanks was never doubted as a great idea as well as having three attackers in a five forward line, but those days were gone, with the 4-4-2 of Sir Alf Ramsey playing without wingers, instead having hard working midfielders and full-backs overlapping and going forward.

Sir Alf developed the style further and even more agil when taking England to the 1970 World Cup and using Terry Cooper in the left back position, he really became a trademark of the offensive back play, of course also seeing Carlos Alberto of Brazil doing much of the same.

Peter Rodrigues, signed by Leicester City in December 1965, to fill the right back position, moving John Sjoberg into the centre of the field, Rodrigues’ attacking full back play set a standard to City’s play in the next decade and when Steve Whitworth replaced Rodrigues he played with the same passion to go forward. Rodrigues was a fine over-lapping full-back who was also renowned for his sliding tackles.

In later years we have seen this offensive overlapping and attacking approach being a tool used often from players such as Ricardo Pereira, Timothy Castagne and Ben Chilwell. They galvanized the full back job and it was a important at Leicester under most managers in the past.

The change seen with Enzo Maresca will bring other movements that will create chances and a different approach, much as we also experienced under the years of MON, as he scrapped the full backs completely, playing a three man back-line, and five in midfield, using Robbie Savage and Steve Guppy as his flanks in the five men midfield.

There are a number of doubts about the approach of Enzo Maresca as he have a great number of natural full-backs in his squad, and probably needs to have a massive rotation and change, to get his squad balance correct in numbers and positions. Ricardo Pereira, Timothy Castagne, James Justin, Luke Thomas and Victor Kristiansen are all players that have that natural feel to go forward and work their way into the opponents half.

Enzo have seen a chance to use Ricardo Pereira as a central midfielder when having the ball and get a different movement to bring forward chances, but so far we have not really been convinced this is the correct way to get progress, having players in a very strict structure with manager steared movement, but if it works well, then ok, but could be a difficult approach for a group used to very different approach, and players used as full-backs not really suited for the job.

The fact that you use Ricardo Pereira in that special role is also strange, since his injury record makes it evident that he will not play all 46 games this season and who will then play in this key position?


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