Whichever formation you play you will need to have a few center-backs in your team. For central defenders, tackling, marking, positioning, strength and teamwork are most important. These are a few recommended center-backs that have higher ratings in those areas.
If you are looking for a younger center-back then why not consider Chelsea's John Terry? At 20 Terry is perhaps one of the best younger defenders you will find in Championship Manager 01/02. Overall, his strength, tackling and marking are all very good. Terry is also excellent with heading, and has a tremendous work-rate. Although Terry does not have the best positioning and team-work ratings, he is a player that will get better. Valued at 1.3 million Terry is a bargain and a recommended central defender.
Perhaps an even better bargain than Terry is that of Taribo West. In CM 01/02 West's contract has expired, and so is a potential free signing for clubs that can meet the wages. Overall, West has a top rating for strength, and high ratings for tackling and marking. West's stamina and work-rate are also excellent. In addition to this, West is a fairly flexible player that can play as either a left-back or a central defender. Admittedly, West's positioning is not brilliant; but that aside West is an excellent defender.
Lazio's Nesta is one of the best defenders in Championship Manager. His positioning, marking, and tackling are all outstanding. Equally, Nesta has a top rating for stamina, and also has excellent strength and work-rate. You can expect that Nesta will have a very high average rating in the games that he plays. For bigger clubs, Nesta's value of 6.75 million is fairly modest. As such, Nesta is a recommended defender that can also play as a sweeper.
Tottenham's Chris Perry is one center-back you shouldn't overlook. Admittedly, Perry is not as good as Nesta but still has excellent ratings for tackling, positioning, and marking. Perry's stamina, work-rate and team-work is also excellent. For a relatively modest value of 2.1 million Perry is certainly a good transfer target for most clubs in the top leagues, and is a recommended central defender.
So these are four recommended center-backs in Championship Manager 01/02. Players such as Nesta, Perry, West and Terry are all excellent central defenders that will enhance any squad.