Top Israeli Full Backs
Israel has struggled in the last 5 years to find good full backs to fill in for the National Football Team, however a new generation of younger players may be able to fill that void. There has been a game of musical chairs at this position for the National Team, but hopefully Eli Guttman will be able to find players to stabilize that position. In his first game against the Ukraine, Dedi Ben-Dayan and Yuval Spungin were the starters, but both players struggled during the game. If I was Guttman neither player would start again. Here is my list of the top five Israeli full-backs.
5. Yoav Ziv
Ziv has been a steady starter for Maccabi Tel Aviv since his return to Israel and has been somewhat consistent, but he has been a liability despite his experience. Ziv is getting older and should only have an outside chance of making the National Team, in case another player is injured. Ziv has a good touch and is good defensively,but has slowed with age. The wily veteran can play as either a right or left-back.
A stalwart for Bnei Yehuda, Raly is really good going forward as a right-back and also has the ability to play as a right winger. He has decent speed and some defensive liabilities, but definitely deserves a chance to play with the National Team. However, the team from Tel Aviv has had its players ignored by the National Team even though it currently sits in 2nd place in the Israeli league. Raly is reaching the prime of his career at the age of 24.
3. Elad Gabai
Part of Kiryat Shmona’s first title-winning team, Gabai made his debut as a substitute for the National Team against the Ukraine recently. Gabai is known for his crossing ability, he currently has four assists on the season, as well as his passing and dribbling. Gabai is currently the best Israeli right back, and should get the nod to start over Yuval Spungin for Israel’s next game against the Czech Republic.
2. Omri Ben-Harush
The young Netanya player is currently coveted by Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Haifa and has the most potential of any current Israeli fullback. Ben-Harush has the full package; good speed, height, and crossing ablility, but needs to improve in his positioning,dribbling, and passing.He is unusual as Israel doesn’t usually have good athletes at his position. Ben-Harush has already been capped at the Senior level against Greece and Croatia, and has regularly started for the under-21 National Football Team. If he can continue to improve, then he will be an automatic first choice at the left-back position for the National Team.
1. Taleb Tawatha
Tawatha is currently the best Israeli full-back. He was injured for most of the second half of this season, but that hasn’t stopped him from being chased by several European Teams, most notably Hannover 96 of Germany. Tawatha despite his young age his been capped at the Senior level and has played in European competitions. This is his 3rd professional season as a footballer, which is quite an accomplishment for a 19 year old. Hannover is likely to be his next destination as the German’s have said they want him there this summer, and Haifa has indicated they are willing to let him go. Tawatha must bulk up if he is to be successful playing abroad, other than that he has good speed, dribbling, passing, and decision making skills.