Full-backs don't often grab the headlines with their performances on football pitches. However, their role is as important as anyone else on the pitch or even more.
The role of full-backs has evolved over time. Traditionally their role was to stop the opposition from attacking in wide areas and support the central defenders.
However, managers around the world look for more in their full-backs than just their defending skills now. An integral part of their game is to support the team's attacking play.
Who can forget the duo of Roberto Carlos and Cafu from Brazil? Both possessed incredible speed and could turn defense into attack in the blink of an eye. Carlos added to his game with his long-range shooting.
The concept of attacking full-backs date way back
Back in1950s, it was Hungary that used the attacking full-back concept under their manager, Gustav Sebes. The coach used Jeno Buzanszky and Mihaly Lantos as his overlapping full-backs. Their job was to support the attacking play led by the famous Ferenc Puskas.
The English game had to wait until the arrival of Arsene Wenger to learn about the 'overlapping fullback' concept. A young Ashley Cole perfected Wenger's idea as Arsenal went on to dominate Premier League football over the next few years.
With time, managers around the world are becoming more and more reliant on their full-backs. In the list below we will rank five of the best full-back pairs operating in football at the moment:
#5 Chelsea: Ben Chilwell and Reece James
The Chilwell-James duo are relatively new to the Premier League scene but have done enough to grab attention with their performances down the flanks. Their performances in the Champions League last season were particularly exceptional.
They are an emerging duo and still have years left in them to write their names in history books.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel prefers to have attack-minded full-backs in his team to support his 3-4-3 formation. That allows the midfielders to play more centrally while the full-backs can venture out to overlap with the inverted wingers.
Down the flanks, James provides both pace and attacking threat to Tuchel's team. James is always looking to get into position to cross the ball inside the box. He possesses amazing pace and can take on defenders at will. He also has the ability to wriggle his way out of trouble.
James has the ability to generate significant outswinging curls in his crosses that can provide the strikers lurking between the goalkeeper and the last line of defenders.
His partner on the other flank, Chillwell, serves as the perfect foil. Chillwell can assist in attack when needed and can quickly track back when needed. Both England internationals are equally adept at dealing with opponents inside their own half and are only expected to get better with time.
#4 Bayern Munich: Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies
Another relatively young pair on the list are Bayern's full-back duo of Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies. Bayern Munich, under their recently-deprated manager Hansi Flick, used the 3-1-4-2 formation to allow the young full-back duo to play free-flowing attacking football.
Canada international Davies has completed the highest number of dribbles (49) in the Bayern Munich team since the arrival of Flick. Even in their first match of the season against Borussia Monchengladbach, Davies recorded an impressive nine dribbles in addition to a total of 113 touches.
Pavard, on the other hand, often tucks into the defense when Davies goes out on attack, thus keeping the team shape intact and protecting them from counter-attacking threats.
The Frenchman is good at covering the ground, thus leaving no empty spaces for the opponents to capitalize on. He is also good at holding the ball and winning aerial balls which gives solidity to the Bayern Munich defense.