What Is The Role Of A Defender?

By Peter C

In football, defenders are as important as any other player in a football team. Their role is to stop or prevent opposing attackers from scoring goals. Although defenders are outfield players, they work in tandem with the goalkeeper (since they are the next set of players in front of the goalkeeper) to create a solid defense throughout a football match.

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While there are about four different types of defenders in modern football, most coaches prefer using two center-backs and two full-backs. The other two types of defenders are sweepers and wing-backs. So, what are the roles of each type?


In modern football, the center-back is also known as the central defender or center-half. Usually, you have two defenders playing this role in a typical football team setup. However, a coach might decide to use three center-backs. Their job is to prevent opposing players from scoring, intercept the ball from them, and quickly distribute it to teammates if there is a chance for a counter-attack.


Fullbacks are often called wider defenders because they sit on either side of the center-backs. In other words, a fullback plays on the right or left side of the backline, so you can call them either right or left back.

Their main role is to defend from the side, primarily a system of defense aimed at stopping the opposition wingers from moving close to the center-backs. Fullbacks also offer supporting roles for wingers to increase attacks on the opposition’s defense.


As the name implies, any defender playing this role must be available to sweep up any balls that get past the defensive line.

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Sweepers position themselves strategically behind the defensive line, so they are often the next player after the goalkeeper.


Defenders in this position are tasked with more offensive roles than defensive roles. They are responsible for joining attacks and creating chances for other players, although they are also needed to support the rest of the defense.