The inverted full-back in Zamalek and old ideas about the left-handed midfielder

In football, the full-back’s work areas in the four-man defense are along the field in the outer areas, but with the tactical development in football, there are other movements of the full-back that appear deep in the field when their team has the ball, so the name of the inverted full-back appears.

As the game developed, the full-backs began to press higher up the pitch to join the attacks; But in recent years, coaches have given instructions to full-backs to play inside to form a numerical advantage on one side and close the pitch.

although Pep Guardiola He is the coach most associated with the idea of ​​the inverted full-back, but Johan Cruyff used this idea with Barcelona many years ago. After that, he often converted the 4-3-3 formation into a 3-4-3 diamond formation, moving one of his wide flanks to the central midfield. The only linchpin in the midfield diamond was Guardiola himself.

As mentioned, the inverted full-back adds another element to the central midfield, usually in an attempt to increase pressure on the opponent in this part of the field, so that when the ball is on the other side he goes deep so that he is not on the wide end and there is space.

The inverted full-back must create forward passing angles for the players in the back line, then receive the ball, advance and play forward, have positional awareness, the ability to make forward passes or dribble to break lines, and also be able to shift play to the other side of the pitch.

Fattouh and the role of the inverted full-back in Zamalek

During coach Juan Carlo Osorio’s time in Zamalek, he was the left-back Ahmed Fattouh Takes clear instructions to move to the center of the field during possession of the ball.

Osorio himself wanted to bring in a left-handed defender in his style of playing the three-man defense, so that he could build the game in a systematic way that relied on exits based on openings between movement on the edge of the pitch or movement inside.

It can be confirmed that Osorio pursued this idea because one of Ahmed Fattouh’s most important characteristics is his ability to play in the spaces between the full-back and the opponent’s defence, and not on the line.

A map of Ahmed Fattouh’s movements against Al-Ittihad of Alexandria in the last match shows his persistence in moving deeper

Fattouh created many goals and scored some of them thanks to this move, which means that he is a full-back who knows how to play inside, especially since Zamalek’s wings on the left, whether Mustafa Shalaby or Ibrahima Ndiaye, play on the line, and here Fattouh finds the opportunity to play inside more.

The heat map above shows Fattouh’s movements in Zamalek’s last match against Al-Ittihad of Alexandria, as Fattouh was going deeper into the game, during Zamalek’s possession, to create a numerical increase on the one hand, and to push Abdullah Al-Saeed forward more.

Old ideas in the midfield

In the world of football, left-footed players have long been considered aesthetically superior (more skilled) and technically gifted to right-footed players, although the evidence is anecdotal or unsupported by science or studies.

Declan Rice, praising the talented young player Adam Wharton, who was included in the England squad for the Africa Cup of Nations finals, said: “He has a beautiful left foot and really clear passes.”

The left foot is a rare currency for midfielders or defenders, and the idea of ​​converting Fattouh to a real midfielder seems to be an idea. Due to his excellence in his roles deep in the field.

Osorio included Fattouh not as a supporting midfielder, but as a defensive midfielder (position number 6) in a famous match that he lost to Al-Ahly.

But employing Fattouh in this way against Al-Ahly, who played with three players in the midfield during that time, was tantamount to suicide, but the idea itself is not bad, but rather it must be implemented in a wiser way and in an appropriate way of playing.

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Against Al-Ahly in that match, Fattouh was a defensive midfielder and alone, but if the idea had been implemented today; Fattouh will be next to Nabil Imad Dunga, for example, or a true defensive midfielder.

Zamalek has a long history with left-footed midfielders. Mohamed Abu El-Ela was an important pillar in Zamalek’s historical generation when he played alongside Tamer Abdel Hamid on the left of center to protect Tariq Al-Sayed’s runs and support him in maneuvering on this side.

Mohamed Abdel Shafi, the former Zamalek player, played in the midfield during a period of time. The same applies to Tariq Al-Saeed, and all of them were somewhat good ideas, knowing that Fattouh possesses the technique and skill that may help him occupy this position.

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