Soccer is a team sport comprising 11 players working together with a common interest on the field. Fans and pundits have been debating what the easiest position in the game is for centuries and it does not seem like ending anytime soon.
This article answers the question “What is The Easiest Soccer Position?” by detailing reasons why a particular position is relatively easier than the rest. We also conclude what we believe is the most difficult position on the field of play.
What is The Easiest Soccer Position?
The fullback position is the easiest in soccer due to its relatively low expectation compared with central defenders, midfielders, wingers, and strikers. Fullbacks can coast through games without drawing attention because they naturally have minimal contact with the ball.
The left and right full-backs are an important position in the game of soccer since they are expected to help central defenders stave off the opponent’s attacks. However, compared to the rest of the team, fullbacks may have a field day throughout the game.
How Many Positions Are In Soccer?
Soccer has 11 different positions comprising the goalkeeper, 2 center backs, 2 full backs, 2 central midfielders, 2 wingers, a playmaker, and a striker. Teams play different systems that redistribute the players in different positions.
But the traditional 4-4-2 system comprises the positions stipulated above. Regardless of what formation a team plays, there will always be 11 positions on the field.
Why Fullbacks Are The Easiest Soccer Position
Here are the main reasons why we believe fullbacks are the easiest soccer position.
The amount of responsibility placed on players in other positions is extremely high but fullbacks are always an afterthought.
Strikers are tasked with scoring goals and in tight games with the slightest margins, they are the ones who typically feel the heat as teammates and fans hold their breath waiting for a goal. Sometimes, the pressure gets to strikers so much that they end up missing sitters and other easy chances.
Midfielders are known as the drivers of each team as they display their magic by controlling the tempo and direction of the game. Midfielders speed up the pace of the game or slow it down depending on the team’s tactics.
The best teams in the world have solid central midfielders that keep the ball among teammates by making incisive passes and runs. They also act as a shield to prevent opponents from transitioning the ball into their halves which could increase the chances of scoring.
Many goals are conceded when midfielders lose possession in key areas of the field and Paul Pogba’s time at Manchester United was characterized by many such errors. No wonder many United fans look back on their most expensive signing’s six years in the club as a failure.
Central defenders act as the last shield against goal concession and teams often lose games when these players have a bad day. Many teams play from the back meaning central defenders help set the tempo of the game.
They are also tasked with doing everything possible during aerial challenges and other situations that could lead to goal concessions. It is not uncommon for central defenders to put their bodies on the line against incoming balls. No wonder midfielders have the highest running statistics among soccer players.
Goalkeepers are responsible for keeping the ball out of their nets at all costs. From diving to participating in aerial duels and coming out of their posts to tackle opponents who have broken through the defense, goalies are handed significant responsibilities.
Goalkeepers always bear the brunt of fans when the team concedes even when it is not their fault. Many have sustained significant injuries in their attempts to keep balls out of their nets at all costs and no wonder many folks believe goalkeeper is the most dangerous soccer position.
The responsibilities of the teammates above are enormous compared with full-backs who are just meant to pass the ball to wingers and other teammates, undertake setpieces like throw-ins, and join the attack occasionally.
They may also help central defenders during counterattacks by the opponents but full-backs are not expected to be the last line of defense nor control the tempo of the game. No fans or teammates blame fullbacks even after missing sitters because everyone knows that scoring is not their responsibility.
Fullbacks seldom undertake scoring opportunities like freekicks and penalty kicks awarded to their team which shields them from coming under verbal abuse when things go wrong.
Minimal Running Required
While soccer currently has a few speedy fullbacks like Canada and Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies, Morocco and PSG’s Achraf Hakimi, and England and Liverpool’s, Trent Alexander-Arnold, fullbacks have traditionally been one of the slowest on the pitch.
Few explosive runs come in handy during certain points in the game such as counter-attacks against the opposition. But generally, fullbacks engage in minimal running compared to wingers, forwards, and central defenders.
Running statistics revealed at the end of soccer games show that fullbacks typically have the lowest figures compared to other outfield players. Only goalies and central defenders run less in the majority of soccer games.
Low Expectations On Fullbacks
Fullbacks have minimal expectations compared to other teammates on the field of play. This is due to the nature of their position which often limits the number of touches made with the ball. This low level of expectations translates to minimal pressure on players in this position.
Not many teams are set up with full-backs tasked with making game-changing decisions. Although they are given specific responsibilities to help the team, fullbacks often have minimal influence on the outcome of the game.
They do not have to carry the team when things are not going well unlike midfielders and strikers. A Fullback’s contribution is limited and most teams have come to expect that.
Fullbacks Are Seldom Blamed For Lost Matches
The majority of fans look for somebody to blame when their teams lose important games and central defenders are easy targets alongside goalkeepers. This is because those two positions are mainly trusted with preventing goal concession.
Central midfielders who may have lost possession in the middle of the field sometimes suffer a lot of criticism from fans as well. The criticism could be so fierce that some players even receive death threats from passionate fans.
However, fullbacks are usually not targeted due to the nature of their playing position. Even when they lose possession in dangerous areas, center-backs are expected to clean up the mess and failure to do so leads to verbal abuse of the latter.
Soccer Fullbacks Have Relatively Low Skills & Talent
Many soccer positions require exceptional talent and skill to fit in. Not only are these players expected to be gifted with tactical discipline but the speed and the ability to take on opponents at any point are also required. However, fullbacks are famous for not being the most talented on many teams.
Former England and Manchester United Fullback Gary Neville’s talents were ridiculed by colleagues and fans despite playing in some of the most trophy-laden teams in the history of the game. Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher’s famous statement that “No one wants to grow up and be Gary Neville” is proof of the fullback’s talent status in the game.
What Is The Most Difficult Position To Play?
Goalkeepeeping is the most difficult position to play and the fact that they are allowed to use their hands in addition to their feet is a testament to the challenges they have to face in goalposts. Unlike other positions where players may be able to coast through without problems, bad goalkeepers concede multiple goals in games.
This makes it clear that the keeper is not good enough and coaches are forced into making substitutions when possible. Germany international Loris Karius became a pariah after his two mistakes cost Liverpool in the 2018 Champion’s League final against Real Madrid.
Conclusion: What is The Easiest Soccer Position?
Fullbacks are the easiest position in the game of soccer because of the low expectations and minimal amount of talent required to play. Although many exciting fullbacks are currently on the books of some of the biggest teams, the majority of soccer fans grew up watching average fullbacks like Gary Neville and Alvaro Arbelo playing for major clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid.
The fullback position requires relatively minimal running and low contact with the ball. Fullbacks do not receive the same level of abuse from fans after losing games because of the low expectations placed on them.