this is part V in the “wrong side XI” series, where i’ll be selecting my very own starting eleven, assuming of course that i could choose any player from any team in the world. you can read the rules i’ll be following to make my team selection, and what formation i’ll be squeezing them into, on the first post in the series.
Once upon a time, in between stints of playing in my favored left back spot, I often took up residence as a centerback. I was never particularly fond of it, much because playing the position made me feel like i had a leash around my neck that was tied to the penalty box. But as often as possible, I would break my invisible chain and make forays into the attack. Much to the chagrin of my coach, of course.
And though I didn’t know it at the time, the style with which I played the position actually had a name: libero. When I first learned that factoid, the defensive volleyball position of the same name came to mind. And for those familiar with both sports, it’s a perfect description for this type of player: a player who defense starts the offense. However, let’s also keep in mind what I wrote in the first post about this position:
“the more offensive oriented back will be free to occasionally make a run into the attack”
Generally though, these occasional flights into the offensive half should coincide with the launch of counter attacks. That’s not to say that the libero can’t join in an offensive passing movement from time to time, but his primary concern regardless of how the attack is flowing is to make sure if he goes forward that someone is stepping in to plug his hole (quit laughing).
Defensively, the role of the libero and the normal center back is practically indistinguishable. Organize the defense, keep an eye on the striker(s) and prevent the other team from scoring. Simple as pie, right?
Surprisingly, what I came to find when it was time to decide who would be considered for my libero spot, is that there really aren’t that many players that are solely classified as liberos. Everyone is just classified as center backs, center halves, or sweepers. Ultimately, that means that I have the freedom to go out and choose whomever I want, because no one is really classified as one.
So who did I classify as a libero? Read on my friends…