Football Manager 2016: Seven world-class full-backs

During the 10 seasons I have spent managing Manchester United in Football Manager 2016, I’ve played a wing-back-and-narrow-midfield-diamond system with two strikers, a highly experimental system with wing-backs and three narrow strikers (I wouldn’t recommend that one), and a 4-1-1-2-2, before eventually settling on my incredibly effective 4-1-1-3-1 system. Despite all the tactical experimentation, one aspect of the football that has remained constant throughout has been my reliance on quality attacking full-backs playing in the Wing Back (Automatic) role. I’ve repeatedly relied on my full-backs to support my wingers by overloading on the flanks, and they’ve rarely disappointed.

Due to my reliance on attacking full-backs, I’ve kept an eye on some of the best full-backs in the game, and after 10 seasons of doing so, have found a fair few excellent full-backs to recommend. Mind you, it doesn’t take a genius to point out that the likes of David Alaba, Jordi Alba, Hector Bellerin, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Philippe Lahm, and Dani Alves are great players. Therefore, in this article, I’ll be discussing a few players who aren’t quite household names yet, but possess the ability to play at the very highest level. Despite offering incredible value-for-money, and consistent performances week in, week out, these players might slip under the radar, but are definitely worth one’s attention.

I’ll discuss the players based on their performances in my save, with special attention to noteworthy stats, achievements, player attributes, preferred moves, and tactical pointers.

The full-backs covered in this post are: Andrew RobertsonNelson Semedo, Gino Peruzzi, Mario Fernandes, Jorge, Layvin Kurzawa, and Jose Gaya. Follow the links to read about the player you’re interested in!

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Andrew Robertson
Club: Hull City | Nationality: Scottish | Position: D/WB(L)
Age: 21 | Contract until: June 2017

Robertson has emerged as one of the most promising young full-backs in Britain in the last two years, and has a fantastically well-rounded set of attributes in the game, making him defensively very solid and a serious threat going forward. In real life, he has actually gained more plaudits for his tendency to make lung-busting attacking runs than for his defensive solidity. Under the watchful eye of a human manager in Football Manager 2016, Robertson develops into a complete and consistently superb wing-back.

Andrew Robertson_ Overview Profile-2

Attributes
From this screenshot in June 2025, it is clear that, even at 31, Robertson is a cracking footballer. Technically, he is a strong marker (Marking – 15) and tackler (Tackling – 15), and his Crossing (14) ensures he chips in with his fair share of assists. His Mentals will obviously not deteriorate with age, and his Concentration (16), Decisions (15), and Determination (15) make him an incredibly reliable and consistent defender. Thanks to his tremendous Work Rate (17), he contributes in both the defensive and attacking phases of play, and covers lots of ground per game. His Preferred moves also indicate a player with a proclivity to contribute in the final third, and his ability to play anywhere down the left flank makes him a fantastic option for tactical versatile managers.

From a Physical perspective, his Stamina (14), Pace (15), and Acceleration (15) are actually at pretty decent levels given his age, and an analysis of his Attribute Changes indicates surprisingly negligible levels of deterioration with age: Acceleration has changed from 15.6 in June 2022 (age 28) to 15.4 in June 2025 (age 31), Pace from 15.0 to 14.6 over the same period, and Stamina from 14.8 to 14.4. Remarkably, his Strength has gone from 13.2 to 14.4 in the last three years! Given his progress on the Physical side, I would expect Robertson to have at least two more seasons of top flight football left in him; he should see more aggressive declines on the Physical side at age 33 or 34.

Some other highly impressive records on the Attributes front (measured between June 2017 and June 2025) have been: Long Throws (10.8 to 12.2), Marking (12.6 to 14.6), Tackling (14.2 to 15.2), Decisions (13.0 to 14.6), and Positioning (13.6 to 14.6). This seems to indicate that, despite being very complete at the beginning of the game, Robertson still has room for improvement, and absorbs training like a sponge, thanks to his Determination (15).

Performances
Of the 10 seasons in my save, Robertson spent the first two with Hull City in the Championship, and plain tore teams to shreds. In 106 appearances in all competitions, he recorded an astound 39 assists, with 16 Player of the Match awards, achieving average ratings of 7.22 and 7.39. He made an average of 3.70 tackles per 90 minutes, with an overall pass completion percentage of 75%.

In the eight subsequent seasons following a £15,250,000 move to my Manchester United side, Robertson has reached another level in his overall performances, both defensively and going forward. In 266 appearances in all competitions, he has scored 10 goals and made 58 assists. His pass completion percentages have hovered in the 71-77% range, and he has made between 2.30 and 3.10 dribbles per 90 minutes. Even at age 31, the Scot covered an average of 8.5 miles per 90 minutes in the just-ended 2024/25 season.

Tactical discussion
Most impressively, however, he has made between 6.28 and 8.54 tackles per 90 minutes, a huge jump from his time at Hull City; this is almost definitely a result of the tactical instructions I employ — instructions to mark opponents tightly and close attackers down heavily mean that Robertson gets into tackling positions on a regular basis.

Additional information
As if there weren’t enough positives about Robertson, his injury record has been exemplary as well, and he has only missed a grand total of 12 weeks out of a total of approximately 520 weeks through injury. Also, as seen by his £76,000-per-week wage in what is at least his third long-term contract with my United side, he is incredibly cheap, and I’d imagine there should be no issues getting him for even a mid-table Premier League side.

Summary
In summary, given his age, solid mental attributes, room for improvement, and resilience to deterioration with age, Robertson comes extremely highly recommended, and would walk right into any side, at any level.

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Nelson Semedo
Club: Benfica | Nationality: Portuguese | Position: D/WB/M(R)
Age: 21 | Contract until: June 2021

For managers who enjoy working at clubs with excellent youth academies and a number of bright prospects in the pipeline, there is no better club in FM16 than Portuguese giants Benfica. With a squad chock-full of attacking talent in the form of Bernardo Silva, Filipe Soares, Goncalo Guedes, Renato Sanches, Bilal Ould-Chikh, Ze Gomes, and their deadline-day January signing of highly-rated Serbian wonderkid Luka Jovic, and you could be forgiven for thinking the side has no potentially world-class defenders to speak of.

But you’d be wrong. In 21-year-old right-sided defender Nelson Semedo, the club has a naturally fit, immensely athletic attacking full-back who is guaranteed to excel on the global stage over the next decade if his performances in Football Manager are anything to go by.

Nélson Semedo_ Overview Profile

Attributes
The same age as Andrew Robertson, Semedo has also showed very few signs of going downhill in terms of abilities, attributes, and performances at the age of 31 in 2025. In comparison with his attributes at the beginning of the game (accessible here), one can see that Semedo makes reasonable improvements in the core Technical — Crossing (12 to 14), Long Throws (11 to 13), Marking (9 to 12), and Tackling (14 to 15) attributes; in addition to him being a Physically superb specimen from the get-go (Acceleration, Agility, Natural Fitness, and Pace all at 16 in 2015), the Portuguese defender can make massive improvements on the Mental front: starting the game with most core Mentals in the 12-15 range in 2015, the decade that follows sees him reach the 14-17 range, with Anticipation (17), Concentration (16), Determination (16), and Work Rate (15) especially impressive, and crucial for his development. The promising thing about his development in my save is that this is all the result of AI-driven growth; I would expect that he develops to an even higher level if trained by a human manager during his formative years.

Performances
Semedo begins the game with a £4,300,000 valuation, and his long-term contract at Benfica makes him an expensive acquisition early in the game; most estimates are very close to the £25,500,000 Chelsea splashed out on him in January 2016 in my save.

Since joining Stamford Bridge, Semedo has become a Premier League icon, making 369 appearances, scoring 16 goals and creating another 60. Regularly making around 5 tackles a game, with a career-best 6.62 tackles per 90 minutes at age 23, Semedo is defensively solid, despite also contributing heavily going forward, as reflected in his average of between 3.45 and 4.65 dribbles per 90 minutes, and his superb pass completion percentages of between 78% and 85%.

With average ratings consistently above 7.50, Semedo has actually showed signs of improving with age even at 29; two of his best seasons ever in terms of assists output, tackles made, and average ratings came in the last three campaigns (2022/23-2024/25). In the just-concluded 2024/25 season, he ranked among the top-five in the Premier Division for key passes (179 in 26(5) appearances).

Tactical discussion
Chelsea have consistently played a 4-1-4-1 system with a defensive midfielder and a flat four in midfield behind a lone striker in my save; I believe the presence of the right-sided midfielder in front of Semedo has contributed to his excellent levels of key passes per season, since his passes have been to either the wide midfielder or the striker, who end up making dribbles or taking shots. This has indicated a potential benefit of a system with less horizontal receiving lines along the pitch (i.e. a flatter system such as a traditional 4-4-2) for the statistical performances of full-backs.

However, there seems to be a tradeoff based on the choice of system, since systems that place less restrictions on the freedom of movement of the full-back (such as the 4-1-1-3-1) I use to get the best out of Andrew Robertson, allow them to make more direct contributions in the final third in terms of crosses.

Additional information
Scouting reports on Semedo indicate that his physicality and determined attitude are the drivers behind his consistently excellent and effective performances down the right flank; they also point to his lack of aerial ability as a persistent weakness; indeed, his best ever record for Headers Won (%) in my save is 63%, achieved at the age of 25. However, his relatively injury-free record is a serious positive; he has only missed a total of 21 weeks out of the last 10 years in my save through injury, and his worst season in terms of overall club appearances as an established first-team player at Chelsea saw him play 41 times.

Summary
In summary, Semedo can be expected to mature into one of the most technically and physically complete right-backs in the world, and, despite the reasonably hefty transfer fee, comes highly recommended on the back of his consistency and determination.

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Gino Peruzzi
Club: Boca Juniors | Nationality: Argentinian | Position: D/WB(R)
Age: 23 | Contract until: December 2018

For  a player who was once linked with a move to Arsenal in real life, and even caught the attention of Real Madrid and Barcelona for man-marking Neymar out of both legs of a Copa Libertadores Round-of-16 clash in 2012, Gino Peruzzi has made surprisingly few headlines over the last few years, returning to Argentina in 2015 to join Boca Juniors following a failed spell with Italian outfit Catania. While the average Joe might ignore the player once touted as the successor to the likes of Javier Zanetti and Juan Pablo Sorin due to his lack of credentials, a closer look will reveal Peruzzi is a potentially incredible footballer, and a quintessential Football Manager transfer bargain.

Gino Peruzzi_ Overview Profile

Attributes
From the very get-go, Peruzzi shows signs of maturing into a highly-developed, well-rounded full-back on the attributes front; he reaches the 15-17 range in most key Mentals — Anticipation (16), Bravery (17), Concentration (15), and Positioning (15) — and is Physically superb, even at the age of 33 in the year 2025. His Pace (13), Stamina (17), Strength (15), and Acceleration (15), usually the first Physicals to dip when a full-back reaches the wrong side of 30, have showed no signs of deterioration. From a Technical perspective, Peruzzi is consistently good, with Crossing (13), Marking (15), and Tackling (15), the key attributes for a multi-faceted full-back, all at very high levels.

Peruzzi was part of my Man United side for a number of seasons (more on that soon), and even though he left Old Trafford at the age 31, he is showing no signs of slowing two years later, which leads me to believe he could continue functioning at a high level for another two seasons.

Performances
In 457 club appearances for Boca Juniors, Manchester United, and Inter Milan in my save, Peruzzi has consistently been excellent, with his average ratings ranging between 7.24 and 7.90. He has scored 13 goals and creating 97, or just about one goal contribution every four games, a remarkable record for a defender. In the four seasons he was my first-choice right-back at Old Trafford (age 27 to 31), he made 211 appearances, scoring 7 and creating 52, or one goal contribution every 315 minutes.

Like Robertson on my left flank, Peruzzi has seen his performances improve dramatically thanks to my 4-1-1-3-1 tactical system that encourages hard tackling and attacking responsibility for full-backs; while Peruzzi made between 3.58 and 4.64 tackles per 90 minutes for Boca and Inter Milan during his three-and-a-half seasons outside England, he made between 5.88 and 7.58 tackles per 90 minutes when playing for me, showing how effective he can potentially be.

Perhaps a reflection of his mediocre Dribbling (11), Peruzzi has made between 0.31 and 1.05 dribbles per 90 minutes for AI-managed sides, improving to a slightly better — but still average at best — range of 1.31 to 2.26 dribbles for my United side.

Scouting reports will suggest that Peruzzi is incapable of effectively challenging in the air due to his height, and poor Heading (10) and Jumping Reach (9); however, his performances for AI-managed Inter Milan in my save have defied this assertion, and he has won a very healthy 77% of attempted headers in each of the last two seasons.

Tactical discussion
A comparison of the seven players on this list based solely on attributes will perhaps indicate that Peruzzi is inferior to the likes of, say Hector Bellerin or Jose Gaya (more on them later). However, Peruzzi stands out from the crowd as a potentially invaluable member of one’s squad since he is the only player of the seven mentioned who is capable of playing on either flank at at least a reasonably high level. His positional adaptability has come in incredibly handy for me during his six-and-a-half seasons at Old Trafford.

Another suitable pointer for those looking to get the best out of Peruzzi: as his average Dribbling (11) and dribbling stats for my United will show, Peruzzi is not much of a runner with the ball; I accounted for this potential weakness in his game by instructing him to cross the ball from deep as opposed to from the byline; no wonder his best season saw him create 17 goals in 57 appearances.

Additional information
Peruzzi’s injury record is excellent, and he has missed only 22 weeks so far in the save; during his best four-year spell at Man United between 2019 and 2023 (age 27 and 31), he missed an extraordinary 4 weeks of football, and has suffered only one injury between 2020 and 2025, indicating a potentially crucial resilience to injuries with age.

If the attributes, expected performances, and injury record aren’t convincing enough, I believe Peruzzi is potentially the best transfer target — and most realistic, regardless of your club’s stature — of the seven players mentioned thanks to his incredibly low market value. At the start of the game, he will cost you less than £5,000,000; given I got 303 appearances from him over six-and-a-half seasons for a transfer fee of £3,800,000 in January 2016, and an eventual transfer profit of £8,700,000 after selling him at age 31 in 2023, I cannot recommend Peruzzi highly enough.

Summary
From a footballing perspective, signing Peruzzi makes perfect sense, since you’ve locked down a position for a decade, with a guaranteed rotational option on the left flank. From a financial perspective, it makes even more sense. Peruzzi is a guaranteed Football Manager legend.

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Mario Fernandes
Club: CSKA Moscow | Nationality: Brazilian | Position: D(R)
Age: 25 | Contract until: June 2019

Mario Fernandes is the oldest player on this list, and you can see that, almost 35 in June 2025, he’s miles past his best. However, he begins the game as one of the world’s best right-backs (up there with the likes of Dani Carvajal and Dani Alves), and remains incredible for a number of years.

Mário Fernandes_ Overview Profile

Attributes
The screenshot of the Brazilian in the link above shows that, at 24 and approaching his prime in 2015, Fernandes is a frighteningly complete player, with seemingly no weaknesses in his game. Technically, he is superb, with Crossing (14), Dribbling (16),  First Touch (14), Marking, Passing, and Tackling (all 15), and Technique (16) at high levels. While all the Mental attributes are in the healthy 13-15 range, Fernandes’ Physicals are also impressive, with Acceleration (15), Pace (17), and Stamina (15) standing out. Even his Heading (11) and Jumping Reach (13) are higher than most full-backs. The screenshot from 2025 shows that, while Fernandes has suffered a dramatic yet expected decline in his Physicals, he retains a strong sense of Positioning (17) and Anticipation (16), which perhaps compensate for his woeful lack of Pace and Acceleration. This points to some ability to perform even at that late stage in his career.

Performances
Fernandes has been excellent in my save throughout the 10 years spent with CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, and now Botafogo, making 345 appearances, with a return of 19 goals and 81 assists, or 0.32 goal contributes per game. He finished with 46 player of the match awards, and average ratings consistently above 7.50, with a season-best of 7.99 across 44 appearances. His disciplinary record was decent, with 45 yellows and just 2 red cards. Despite being an attacking full-back whose focus is on dribbling and crossing, Fernandes’ stats show high levels of consistency in output; he has made between 2.90 and 4.50 tackles per 90 minutes throughout his career, bar a career-best 6.40 at age 28, and has consistently achieved passing percentages of above 75%, while also completing more than 2 dribbles per game.

Tactical discussion
Fernandes’ attributes indicate a player who is solid defensively, but really thrives going forward, and is as good as a wing-back as he is as a right-back. Occasional studies of his heat maps have showed he enjoys playing in the final third, and he has a penchant for making long runs down the flank, and is equally comfortable crossing from deep and the byline.

Additional information
The one key red flag regarding Fernandes is his susceptibility to injuries; he has missed a total of SEVENTY-THREE WEEKS (that’s a year and a half) through injury, most of which were ligament and hamstring issues. Assuming players’ susceptibility to injuries is inherently factored into their programming, this creates a major risk for a team depending on Fernandes as its first-choice right back. Indeed, he only made more than 40 appearances in a season on TWO occasions in 10 years, despite being the unchallenged first-choice right-back at Manchester City for five years.

Summary

While Fernandes will most likely be an expensive option at the beginning of the game, given his age, level of development, and long-term contract at CSKA Moscow, my observations of his potential in the game have convinced me that, even at, say £25,000,000 — vastly higher than his original valuation of £4,900,000 — Fernandes should be near the very top of one’s shopping list.

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Jorge
Club: Flamengo | Nationality: Brazilian | Position: D/WB(L)
Age: 19 | Contract until: December 2019

As the only player on this list who is still a teenager, Jorge perhaps has the most developing to do, which is a scary prospect given he already resembles a player at the peak of his powers, at just 19! One of the best defensive prospects to come out of Brazil in recent years, Jorge is excellent in all aspects of the game, and has very few weaknesses to speak of. There is no doubt in my mind that, given the right development, he can reach the levels of, and even exceed, the likes of Luke Shaw and David Alaba in terms of combining attacking and defensive duties with the right balance.

Jorge_ Overview Profile

Attributes
In 2015, Jorge excels across the board in terms of attributes to begin with, and develops into an even more complete player by the age of 25 or 26, and retains his attributes at 29. When compared to him at age 19, it is clear that while he makes marginal improvements in the technical side of attacking — Crossing (14 to 15), Passing (14 to 15), and Technique (15 to 16) all increase by 1 point — there are clear inroads to be made on the defensive side of his game, with Tackling (11 to 13) and Marking (12 to 15) showing potential for dramatic improvement.

On the Mental side, his range of 15 to 17 at the age of 29 is a clear improvement across the board from age 19, where his best readings were for Anticipation and Determination (both 14). His Anticipation (17), Concentration (16), Decisions (16), and Positioning (15) mark him out as an astute reader of the game, and his superb Physicality (Acceleration, Agility and Stamina all 16) make him capable of transitioning from defense to attack very quickly.

Performances
Having made 440 appearances in all competitions for Flamengo and then AC Milan, scoring 16 goals and making 48 assists, with 56 player of the match awards to his name. With average ratings between 7.27 and 7.51, Jorge guarantees consistency at high levels, making between 3.0 and 3.5 tackles and around 2 dribbles a game (this despite playing in a struggling Milan side in the defensive Serie A).

While Jorge is effective going forward, and achieves pass completion percentages of above 70% without fail, he really stands out, even on this list, for his reliability and disciplinary record. He boasts an absolutely incredible record of — and I double-checked, I guarantee you — a paltry 22 yellow cards across his 440 club appearances, working out to 2 bookings per league campaign. That, in addition to the fact that, in three of the 10 seasons, he has made less than 10 mistakes and 25 fouls (with a career-best of 5 mistakes and 21 fouls in 38 appearances in the 2022/23 season), gives his team machine-like reliability.

Additional information
Jorge is also relatively resistant to injuries, having missed only 27 weeks through injury, the last of which happened in 2022, three years ago. He will be quite expensive early in a save, with Flamengo asking for well above £20,000,000, but the player can be acquired for around half that amount a couple of seasons into the save. In fact, AC Milan paid all of £5,000,000 for him in January 2017 in my save. At that price, Jorge is an absolute steal.

Summary
In summary, Jorge develops into an incredibly well-rounded, reliable defender who is effective in both the defensive and attacking phases of the game, and would fit into even the best sides.

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Layvin Kurzawa
Club: Paris Saint-Germain | Nationality: French  | Position: D/WB(L)
Age: 23 | Contract until: June 2020

Arguably the most attack-minded player on this list so far, Kurzawa enjoys going forward, and is equally comfortable as a wing-back and full-back; his physicality and determination to get among the goals, backed by reasonably solid defensive stats, make him a clear attacking threat.

Layvin Kurzawa_ Overview Profile

Attributes
The Frenchman looks excellent on paper, even at age 32, with most Physicals having only declined by 1 point from peak levels at age 28. Kurzawa is decent Technically, with most attributes in the 12-14 range, as are his Physical attributes. Mentally, he is very impressive, with his Determination (17), Off the ball (16), and Work Rate (17) standing out, and most other attributes at either 14 or 15.

Performances
Having made 324 appearances in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain over 10 seasons, Kurzawa has been consistently good, if slightly underwhelming in terms of goal contributions, with 14 goals and 46 assists in all competitions. In six of the 10 seasons, he failed to make more than six goal contributions, a rather disappointing return. Mind you, his average ratings have been decent, at between 7.10 and 7.30, and his ability going forward has been apparent, with the Frenchman having made between 2.90 and 4.50 dribbles per game. Defensively, he has been solid, making between 3.0 and 4.0 tackles per game, at a tackle success rate of between 75% and 80%.

Tactical discussion
Kurzawa stands out from the other players on this list for not only being positionally versatile, but also being rather incredible in the air (Heading – 16); on the few occasions I’ve played his Paris Saint-Germain side, I’ve noticed a tendency for long balls to be played out to the left flank, where Kurzawa can dominate aerially, in addition to being excellent on the ground thanks to a great combination of above-average Technicals and Physicals with excellent Mentals.

In addition to the core Preferred Moves for a traditional attacking full-back, Kurzawa is also a regular player of One-Twos (I am not sure whether that is a trait he developed on my save, or one he is naturally capable of); this would seem to suggest he works best in a system with many horizontal receiving lines along the pitch, such as a system with wing-backs and a narrow diamond in midfield, allowing Kurzawa to make his way up the pitch with the help of his team-mates.

Additional information
Hold on, there might be a serious problem with Kurzawa. If you thought the amount of time Mario Fernandes has spent injured is a problem, you will not like this. On my save, Kurzawa has spent a whopping ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX WEEKS injured, suffering THIRTY FOUR separate injuries, SIX of which were pulled hamstrings. If that ends up meaning anything, Kurzawa might have be a risk. Frankly, I’m surprised he has any Physical stats at all at age 32, given the fact that he’s a walking hospital case.

Having just joined French champions Paris Saint-Germain on a long-term contract at the start of the game, Kurzawa will be extremely expensive for the first few seasons, but could be available should Lucas Digne and Maxwell be given more game time as one’s save progresses; as all FM-ers know, PSG can be relied on to overpay for young players before, crucially, selling them at massive discounts when they complain about not getting enough game time.

Summary
Kurzawa looks very good on paper, and would fit beautifully in an attack-oriented team. Fingers crossed his injury woes are unique to my save, and not a core characteristic programmed into the player. If the latter holds true, Kurzawa could well be a world-class left-sided attack-minded wing-back in the mould of Roberto Carlos.

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Jose Gaya
Club: Valencia | Nationality: Spanish | Position: D/WB/AM(L)
Age: 20 | Contract until: June 2020

Arguably the most famous full-back on this list thanks to his brilliance in FM15, Jose Gaya is also most likely the very best. Valued at £12,000,000 at the start of the game, Gaya will cost a lot more, but remains one of the few defenders definitely worth spending upwards of £40,000,000 on; he is the complete full-back at 20, and guarantees more than a decade of sensational performances.

José Gayà_ Overview Profile

Attributes
While most players would dream of attributes in the 15 to 17 range at age 28, Gaya astonishingly begins the game, aged 20, with MOST of the key attributes for an attacking full-back at between 15 and 17; Crossing (17), Work Rate (16), Acceleration (17), Agility (16), and Pace (16) mark him out as an attacking threat with explosive pace and the ability to get behind a full-back and pump crosses in. From a Mental perspective, he is reasonably well-developed for a 20-year-old, with most attributes in the 13 to 15 range, but, thanks to Determination (15), he can reach the 15 to 17 range with the right training. The one clear weakness is his lack of aerial ability, with Heading (5) and Jumping Reach (6) a reflection of his height.

Performances
In many ways, Gaya has been the most consistently impressive player on this list, ranking on top of the pile for appearances in all competitions (476), goals (27), assists (103), and player of the match awards (84, somehow). His disciplinary record has been acceptable, with 54 yellow cards and 2 dismissals, and his average ratings have been between 7.40 and 7.80, indicating a top, top performer. He has been consistent both defensively and going forward, making 3.5-4.3 tackles per 90 minutes, and between 2.5 and 3.0 dribbles.

 Tactical discussion
Thanks to his ability to play anywhere along the flank, including as a winger at a high level, Gaya seems to make a wide attacking system a no brainer; depending on where he plays, and the playing style of the accompanying defender/winger, one has the tactical freedom to switch between different crossing styles, either from deep or the byline. Gaya has proved his ability to hug the touchline and cross from just about anywhere in the opposition half to deadly effect in my save.

Additional information
Gaya is relatively immune to injuries, with the bulk of the 39 weeks spent on the touchline due to a broken toe that kept him out for 2 months.

Summary
In short, not only is Gaya one of the world’s best defenders in the making, he is also deadly going forward, and, as mentioned, no amount of money should be considered excessive. Given his ability to play at left-wing at a very high level, one could even partner him with, say, a Robertson or a Jorge. That is a truly frightening prospect.

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So there you have it — my take on seven potentially world-class full-backs who may slip under the radar for some, but have the ability to be just as brilliant as the likes of David Alaba and Dani Alves! I hope this helps.

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2 thoughts on “Football Manager 2016: Seven world-class full-backs

  1. I would also recommend Mayke and Hidde Ter Avest. Playing Man Utd with 4-1-1-3-1 tactics, but FB-AT rather than WB, they have both averaged over 8 for years. Mayke from 2016, and Hidde a few years later.

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