The Best Way to Use the Carrilero in Football Manager

Who is a Carrilero in FM?

A carrilero in football manager is a central midfielder, who occupies the  wide areas of the midfield in tactics that have no natural wingers. They are similar to the mezzala, in that they drift from their starting position but rather than join the attack like the mezzala, the carrilero is more defensive minded, and he will instead look to protect the space left by the fullback when he overlaps. 

The Carrilero therefore moves from side to side on the pitch, as opposed to the vertical movement of the box to box midfielder from the defensive third to the opposition. This side to side movement of the carrilero has earned him the term “shuttler”. 

From the description, the carrilero is therefore required to identify threats and snuff them out before anything materializes from it. Some of the renowned players who have played the carrilero role in the past include;

  1. Blaise Matuidi of Juventus
  2. Allan of Everton
  3. Ander Herrera of PSG
  4. Fred of Manchester United
  5. Bentacour of Juventus

Attributes Required For a Good Carrilero in Football Manager

The carrilero is a defensively minded role, and the attributes required to play this role effectively will reflect that. You can however get away with playing a midfielder who is not particularly defensive in the role as long as he has decent teamwork and work rate. Think 13 and above in the attributes rating.

Highlighted attributes for a carrilero in football manager

As already mentioned, the must-have attributes for the carrilero role are a high work rate and teamwork, alongside tackling and good stamina to keep doing the job diligently for the full 90 minutes. I would personally aim for these attributes to be at least 15, but having them lower than that in one or two attributes is not a dealbreaker.

The other attributes for the role are anticipation to identify potential threats, decisions for picking the optimal choice most of the time, positioning for being at the right place at the right time and good pace and acceleration in order to keep up with the opposition’s attackers when they are on the counter-attack.

Player Traits Suitable for a Carrilero

Players who are exceptional defensively most of the time are not the most gifted when it comes to attack. Keeping this in mind, I will suggest player traits that would make the carrilero role a supporting one. Keeping things simple and tidy, leaving the playmaking duties to his partners in midfield like the Segundo Volante or the regista.

If your carrilero has a high passing range and good technique, you can train him on a more expansive game.

Without further ado, the following player traits will be suitable for a carrilero;

  1. Plays short simple passes – As expected, the carrilero with this player trait will play a simple passing game, winning the ball back and passing it to more creative players in the team  to advance it forward. It is particularly useful for players with a low attribute rating in passing.
  2. Comes deep to get ball – Out of possession, the carrilero will be more likely to drop back in order to get the ball from his defence. In doing so, he will be adding another body at the back for the opposition to contend with.
  3. Plays no through balls – There is no need for your carrilero to lose the ball repeatedly by attempting low percentage passes that he is not capable of pulling off consistently. Playing risky balls that aim at splitting the opposition’s defence open requires high passing, technique and vision.
  4. Plays one-twos – If your carrilero has decent passing, you can start training him to develop this player trait. Successfully playing one- twos progresses the ball up the pitch faster and more effectively

Unsuitable Player Traits for a Carrilero

Player traits that would not be a perfect fit for the carrilero are those which would force him to operate higher up in the field than he is expected to. Playing higher up than expected would then lead to an imbalance in your tactic and therefore increasing chances of your defence being exposed.

The following traits are therefore unsuitable for carrileros;

  1. Gets forward whenever possible – Best suited for mezzalas and box to box midfielders, who are expected to have an impact higher up in the field.
  2. Arrives late in the opposition’s area – “Arrives late in opposition area” is slightly different from “Gets forward whenever possible” in that a player moves much closer to goal when having the “Arrives late in opposition area” player trait. Therefore, it is best suited for attacking midfielders with good heading and finishing rather than central midfielders. 
  3. Runs with ball often – This will lead to the carrilero moving out of his designated space and therefore exposing your tactic on the flanks.
  4. Runs with ball through the centre – Related to “Runs with ball often”, this player trait will also lead to the carrilero charging through the midfield and therefore leaving his position unattended to.

Football Manager Tactic with a Carrilero

Since the carrilero is expected to cover the wide areas of the pitch, we have to ensure the midfield consists of three midfielders so that when the carrileros move out wide as expected, the central midfield area is not left deserted with no one manning it.

A good balance here can be one carrilero and a mezzala or box to box midfielder, with a regista or deep lying midfielder in behind them. In front of the central midfield strata, you can have an advanced playmaker or an attacking midfielder on support duty so that he can also pick up more defensive duties out of possession.

Football manager tactic with a carrilero

The fullbacks should then be given more licence to roam from their position and bomb forward to provide the required width. I prefer using wingbacks on support duty, but if you have the players for it, you can experiment with one complete wing back, or two if you are really adventurous. Though prepare to be absolutely taken advantage of down the flanks, if you don’t have a vastly superior squad than the opposition.

The defensive line should also be slightly higher to complement  the fullbacks pushing high as possible. You can push the defensive line even higher if you have fast centre backs to deal with the constant threat of counter-attacks. 

Since we have a playmaker in the no.10 position, the striker roles you choose should primarily focus on scoring goals and not bringing others into play. A Complete forward on attack duty paired with an advanced forward will work well.