Top-class full-backs can potentially be the difference between a title-winning campaign and a second-placed finish; mid-table mediocrity and European qualification, or even Premier League survival and a relegation nightmare.
Having that link between defence and attack is often the key to breaking teams down, especially for managers who favour wing-back-centric formations such as 5-3-2.
Complete box-to-box players who can fulfil this role are a rare breed, given the range of attributes they must possess, from defensive solidarity, to pace and creativity. The likes of Manchester City's Kyle Walker and Paris Saint-Germain star Daniel Alves make it look effortless, but most clubs lack the resources to lure stars of this calibre.
Obviously, Kyle Walkers don't grow on trees and this creates a conundrum for Football Manager 2018 fans seeking world-class right-flank talent, but there are options out there to suit all club sizes and budgets. You just have to know where to fish.
From wonderkids to old warhorses with plenty of life left in them, here are the right-backs that should be on your radar in the latest edition of the beautiful game.