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Old 11-11-2014, 12:18 PM
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I sometimes hear commentators refer to "old-fashioned" defenders and often they are referring specifically to the center backs. What does this mean exactly? Are they talking about defenders who really never go forward or who focus almost entirely on clearances?
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Old 11-12-2014, 07:24 AM
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Interesting topic in the sense that the game has changed I'd say in our era now especially with how positions are played.

I think right now there's more emphasis on attack and scoring goals and not so much on traditional defensive strategy as noted above. It appeared to me those earlier center backs played a much more physical game too not giving a damn if they broke strikers' legs when making a challenge! They're job simply was to not allow a goal nor even say a cross into the box. In a sense their view of the game was really in that patch of land immediately around the box. They guarded it ruthlessly. Just my observation.
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Old 11-12-2014, 08:10 AM
Location: Finland
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In game dynamics, an old-fashioned defender is a person who is a very limited player in passing and technical skills. It's not necessary only a strong and slow physical defender, but one who offers only a elementary passing option without creativity. In the modern game with very elastic pressing, you need at least one technically skilled center back to exploit the space while attacking and giving more options when starting the attack. In the old days these were called "ball-playing defenders", but today they are more the norm than exception. Thiago Silva from PSG is a good example for a strong ball-playing "modern" defender. Actually he is world class. Niklas Moisander from Ajax is a pure ball-playing defender with limited physical capabilities, but had the second highest passing % in the last year's Champions League group stage, being next only to Xavi.
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:27 PM
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Are there any defenders that you would consider to be world class at this point that aren't also strong ball-playing defenders?

It's interesting that the game has changed to the point where there really doesn't seem to be as much of a role for purely defensive players. Fullbacks have become almost as mobile as wingers due to there not always being traditional wingers included because of the formation used. Given this trend, one would think it would be even more important than ever to have the center backs focus on defense, but there are guys like David Luiz who play more like a holding midfielder than a center back.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:35 AM
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re: Ariete's point regarding 'limitations' of those earlier defenders...

Agree on that. No doubt a bit before that whole concept of 'total football' that Holland introduced where players had to get out of the thinking that they were say just a 'defender', striker etc etc and simply relegated to playing that way according to how the position was played.

And this goes to the above post about the mobility of backs today. Yep they're probably required to have that skill since the attacking game has picked up relentlessly. In a way I really wonder whether defense has really gone 'down' though. No doubt the technical skills are there but perhaps there's simply going more for an emphasis on scoring. Maybe it all comes down to desire. Football has changed so much since the coal-miners played it. With them they lived and loved to play 'D'. Nothing like taking out a ' forward' after he got a 'hospital' ball 2 feet from the goalmouth...;-)....penalty? Nah they never called that back in the olden days..;-)....
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:38 AM
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If it's UK commentators, they mean references to the late (great) Bobby Moore, or more recent retired players as Tony Adams, Terry Butcher, etc. Most top central defenders these days are as rugged, but are technically more able. Koscielny, Jones, Kompany, are all examples.
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