BEST FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022 CENTRE-BACKS
BRIEF PROFILES ON SOME OF THE BEST YOUNG CENTRE-BACKS IN FM22
We cover youth football and we love Football Manager. We’ve combined both to compile a list of the young centre-backs that you should start scouting on your FM22 saves. These aren’t necessarrily “best”, but they’re interesting prospects for clubs across the spectrum of football. They’re players that we like in real-life that look good in FM22.
WHAT ROLES CAN CENTRE-BACKS PLAY IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 22?
Centre-backs are one of the easiest roles to get wrong in your tactic, especially when playing at a lower level. The different roles available give so much scope for playing in different ways, really setting the foundation for how your team is going to play. The different roles are:
- Central Defender
- Ball Playing Defender
- No-Nonsense Centre-Back
- Wide Centre-Back
The three ‘traditional’ roles are of course, Central Defender, Ball Playing Defender and No-Nonsense Centre-Back. The downfall of many amateur FM22 players is leaning too heavily on Ball Playing Defenders, especially with personnel that are not equipped to play that way.
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Sometimes, especially when playing at a lower level with technically limited players, it’s best to commit to playing No-Nonsense Centre-Backs and letting them focus on their defensive work.
Central Defenders and Ball Playing Defenders are the natural progression past this. Central Defenders will look to play simply, while Ball Playing Defenders will look to be more expansive with their passing game.
These three roles all have a defend, stopper and cover duty. Stoppers will look to step into midfield and break up attacks early – often useful for slower defenders. Covering defenders will look to sweep up from behind – often useful for fast defenders. While centre-backs on the defend duty will hold the defensive line as normal. Be careful with how you mix these duties up!
The other two roles are more unconventional. The Libero role is the old school ‘sweeper’ that we don’t see a whole lot of in modern football, except that the Libero will then roam into midfield when his team has possession. On the attack duty, they will look to attack the edge of the box as a genuine threat from range as well as a creator. This role can only be used in a back three.
Lastly, there is the new Wide Centre-Back role, which can also only be used in a back three. The Wide Centre-Back really changes up how your team can play with possession, encouraging the WCB to support the attack in different ways depending on what duty they are set on.
On defend, they will look to support the attack from wide areas but stay deep. On support they will look to push further forward and overlap out wide, while on attack duty they will also look to dribble more.
WHAT ATTRIBUTES ARE IMPORTANT FOR CENTRE-BACKS IN FM22?
The base core attributes are pretty simple: Jumping reach, pace, strength, heading, marking, tackling, positioning, aggression, anticipation and concentration – essentially the best attributes for playing as a No-Nonsense Centre-Back are the core fundamentals.
But as you move up the divisions and acquire better players, other attributes – primary technical ones – will become important. The popular ball playing defender role requires vision, technique, passing and first touch.
A Wide Centre-Back on attack duty will even require dribbling as an important attribute. And the Libero role requires a bit of everything: even flair.
WATCH: 5 YOUNG PLAYERS YOU SHOULD BUY IN FM22
DATE OF BIRTH
€40M – €120M
This is one for those of you managing the big clubs. You know what the deal is here; Jules Koundé has an €80 million release clause and Sevilla will expect you to pay every penny of it in order to allow him to join your club.
Naturally, what you are getting in return is a centre-back already playing at a Champions League level that will continue to eventually develop into one of the best defenders in Football Manager 2022.
As an added bonus, he can also do a role for you at right back. But his usefulness as a ball-playing defender or a wide centre-back means you will want to be playing him centrally. Wide centre-back (At), anyone?
DATE OF BIRTH
€4.4M – €13.5M
A high performer in Italy’s under-19 team in real life, Giorgio Scalvini looks like an equally exciting prospect in game. At his best, he turns into a high class defender in FM22 and is well worth the €2 million sum he can be purchased for on day one.
Though his set of mental attributes is not the strongest at the start of the save (he is only 17) his physical and technical attributes should make him capable of playing minutes at senior level straight away depending on the level you are playing out.
But for a low cost, high upside option for centre-back, there are not many better options, especially given how comfortable he is playing everybody’s favourite centre-back role: ball-playing defender.
DATE OF BIRTH
FC Red Bull Salzburg
€8.6M – €26M
If you need a starting defender and you can afford Oumar Solet at the start of your save, he is a no brainer. His stats are wonderful well-rounded and will naturally only improve with minutes. He is so technically strong that he has the versatility to play in defensive or central midfield.
But obviously you want to maximise his strengths in the heart of your defence. He is 192cm tall, with decent speed and strength, paired with excellent passing to kick-start attacks for your team.
It will cost you somewhere in the region of €20 million to sign him, and from there he has the potential to be a 10-year set-and-forget player as long as the growth of your club can keep pace with his development into a Champions League level player.
DATE OF BIRTH
€14M – €43M
A Football Manager favourite returns. Dan-Axel Zagadou is the perfect player to target at the end of season one as he winds down his expiring contract. It’s as simple as this, if you can afford him, you should sign him.
First and foremost, he is left-footed, meaning he can slot into the left side of your central pairing or trio – a position that is often not easy to fill. But he also has excellent ball-playing defender stats, as well as being a huge physical presence with a high strength attribute and his 196cm height.
He starts the game with a long term knee injury, so you can’t sign him in the first window. Though you could look to get him in on a cut-priced deal in January rather than waiting to fight it out with rival teams for his signature at the end of the season.
WHAT ARE FOOTBALL MANAGER WONDERKIDS?
Wonderkid is a cliché term that’s synonymous with Football Manager. They’re young prospects – usually aged 16 to 18 – that have elite-level potential in the game. Freddy Adu is a prominent example for older managers, while Youssoufa Moukoko is a current case. They’re the superstar youngsters that are must-buys on every save.
But it’s also subjective. A wonderkid at Accrington Stanley is completely different to a wonderkid at Manchester City. Essentially, the surroundings dictate the status.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD CENTRE-BACK IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?
The ideal centre-back is a complete one – an athletic player that can defend in different scenarios, from covering space behind the backline todefending in one-v-ones and dominating in the air, as well as being productive in possession.
Centre-backs of that ilk are extremely rare. Therefore, you need one that fits your style. Make sure that he fits within the team principles, as well as next to the proposed partner.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST CENTRE-BACKS IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?
You can do so by utilising the player search tool, which enables you to specify the certain variables you’re looking for in your player – from age to specific attributes.
Make the most of your scouts, too. Send them to scout nations (rather than regions/contintents) for the best young centre-backs by defining their criteria – specifying under-23, four-start potential, etc. Alternatively, just scour the Scouted Football website!
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUNG CENTRE-BACKS IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?
As always, pathways are paramount. You have to make sure that your youngsters have access to meaningful minutes at the appropriate levels. If you have a first-team ready talent, phase him into the team gradually, during pre-season ideally.
If your prospect needs a bit more polishing, the loan system is a valuable tool. But pathways to senior level minutes are key. Assess your youngsters on a case-by-case basis, decide what they need, and enact your decision.
WHERE CAN I BUY FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?
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Virgil van Dijk and Rúben Dias are the best centre-backs in FM22, as per the ratings. Underneath them, there’s the likes of PSG’s Marquinhos, Chelsea’s Thiago Silva, as well as Inter’s Stefan de Vrij and Milan Škriniar.
The best young centre-backs in FM22 include Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano, Ronald Araújo, Jules Koundé, Fikayo Tomori, William Saliba, Alessandro Bastoni and Éder Militão.