The Wide Centre-Back, also known as the “WCB,” is a player role in football that has gained popularity in recent years. It is a hybrid position that combines the defensive duties of a central defender with the attacking responsibilities of a full-back. The WCB's main objective is to stop the opposing team's attackers while also providing support to the midfield and contributing to the team's attacking play.

The history of the WCB role is not easily traceable, as with many innovations in football, the role has developed gradually over time. However, its rise to prominence can be attributed to certain managers who have experimented with the system and found success. For example, Chris Wilder's Sheffield United side finished ninth in the Premier League in 2019/20 while using wide centre-backs, and Antonio Conte's Juventus was known for its use of the role during his reign. Other managers like Pep Guardiola, Gian Piero Gasperini, Julian Nagelsmann, and Jorge Sampaoli have also utilized the WCB in their systems.

When to Use a Wide Centre-Back in Football Manager 2023

In Football Manager 2023, using a Wide Centre-Back can be an effective tactical choice in certain situations. It's important to consider the ideal formation for using a Wide Centre-Back, which is typically in a formation with three defenders. This allows the Wide Centre-Back to move up into the midfield and create overloads in wide areas, stretching the opponent's defence and creating space for other players to move into.

One of the key advantages of using a Wide Centre-Back is their ability to cover a lot of ground between the defence and the midfield, which can be particularly useful in high-pressure situations. Additionally, they have the ability to contribute to attacking play, making them a true hybrid between a central defender and a full-back. With the right player attributes and traits, a Wide Centre-Back can effectively support defensive and attacking play, making them a valuable asset in your team's tactical setup.

Attributes of a Successful Wide Centre-Back

The Wide Centre-Back role in football is a unique position that requires a player with a specific set of attributes. In order to be successful in this position, a player must possess both defensive and attacking abilities.

Defensively, the player must have strong tackling and marking skills, as well as good anticipation and positioning. The ability to read the game well is also crucial for this position. Other important defensive attributes include heading, jumping reach, strength, and composure.

On the attacking side, a Wide Centre-Back needs to have good dribbling and passing skills, as well as the ability to cross the ball effectively. A high work rate is also important, as this position requires players to cover a lot of ground throughout the game. Stamina is another key attribute that allows a player to maintain their performance level for the full 90 minutes.

Ultimately, a successful Wide Centre-Back needs to have a balanced set of attributes that allow them to contribute both defensively and offensively. They need to be able to support their teammates in all areas of the pitch and be able to adapt to the demands of the game.

Player Traits for a Successful Wide Centre-Back

Player traits are actions a player is more likely to perform during a match than others. They do not give a player extra abilities, but rather affect their decision-making. For a successful Wide Centre-Back, the right player traits can make all the difference.

The following player traits are essential for a Wide Centre-Back to excel on the pitch:

  1. Brings ball out of defence: A Wide Centre-Back should be comfortable with the ball at their feet and able to bring it out of defence to start an attack. This trait requires good dribbling and passing abilities.
  2. Marks opponent tightly: A Wide Centre-Back needs to be able to mark their opponent closely to prevent them from creating chances. This trait requires strong defensive attributes such as marking, tackling, and positioning.
  3. Gets forward whenever possible: With their movement, Wide Centre-Backs can create overloads in wide areas, stretching the opponents' defence and creating space for other players. This trait requires a high work rate, stamina, and attacking abilities such as crossing and dribbling.

By training and mentoring for these player traits, a Wide Centre-Back can become an essential player on the pitch, contributing both defensively and offensively.

Examples of Successful Wide Centre-Back Systems

When it comes to successful examples of wide centre-back systems in football, there are several noteworthy teams to look at. One of the most well-known is Sheffield United, who under the guidance of Chris Wilder, used the system to great effect during the 2019/20 Premier League season. Another example is Antonio Conte's Chelsea, who won the Premier League in 2016/17 by utilising the role of a back-three. Atalanta under Gian Piero Gasperini has also been successful with this system, reaching the Champions League quarter-finals in 2019/20.

How to Use Wide Centre-Backs in Football Manager 2023

In Football Manager 2023, using Wide Centre-Backs effectively requires a tactical approach that suits the role. Coaches should consider using formations that allow for the inclusion of Wide Centre-Backs, such as a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2. These formations provide more defensive cover, while also allowing the Wide Centre-Backs to push forward and contribute to attacking play.

When it comes to play styles, coaches should focus on possession-based football, where the team controls the game by keeping the ball and making use of the Wide Centre-Backs' passing abilities. This can be complemented by a high pressing game, which puts pressure on the opposition and helps to win back possession quickly.

Additionally, training and mentoring the players to develop their abilities is crucial to their success in the role. This involves individual training sessions that focus on improving specific skills required for the position, such as marking, concentration, and positioning. Using the right player traits and focusing on improving their attributes will also be vital in developing a successful Wide Centre-Back in Football Manager 2023.


In conclusion, using a Wide Centre-Back in Football Manager 2023 can bring many advantages to your team's defensive and attacking capabilities. The role has been successfully implemented in real-life football, with various teams showcasing their success through different systems. When setting up tactics, it's essential to consider the strengths and weaknesses of your team and the opposition. Moreover, player development is crucial, and training and mentoring can help your Wide Centre-Backs reach their full potential. Finally, we encourage you to experiment with this role and explore the benefits it can bring to your team in Football Manager 2023. With the right setup and player traits, your team could dominate the pitch and secure success on the virtual field.

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