Regarded as a promising player in the media, Cancelo is mainly known for his speed, energy and offensive capabilities, as well as his technique, dribbling skills, creativity and crossing ability. He is capable of playing as a full-back or winger on either flank, although he usually plays on the right. During his time at Manchester City, he was considered one of the best full-backs in Europe. Despite his ability going forward, however, his tactical sense, positioning, and defensive skills have been cited as weaknesses in the media. When playing as a traditional full-back he times his forward runs well. He tends to move forward when in possession rather than making lung-busting overlapping runs around the outside of a teammate, and he prefers to receive to feet rather than chase through balls. On the ball, he is equally capable of cutting infield from the right as he is going around the outside, and will regularly look to cross with his weaker left foot or drive inside the opposing left-back and look to combine with those further forward. He is a very strong dribbler and that ability, combined with the fact he is confident on either foot, makes him extremely difficult to defend against. His speed also allow him to be fast enough that to recover at defensive transitions, and is always aware of the space he leaves behind him when his team attacks. In his second season in Manchester City, under manager Pep Guardiola, Cancelo was developed into one of his hybrid players, who plays both at full-back and in central midfield in the same game. During City’s 4–3–3 formation, when out of possession, Cancelo moved into central midfield alongside Rodri, leaving five players to form their attacking line. With their back three spread wide across the pitch, Cancelo, Rodri and two attacking midfielders often form a box in midfield to overload central areas. If City play centrally, Cancelo is often their target – he has proved brilliant at receiving in central midfield and progressing play with daring and accurate forward passes. Cancelo also become one of City’s most effective creative players, often adopting positions in either half-space before delivering a ball into the penalty area or slipping a through ball between defenders. When in a more withdrawn position, Cancelo is adept at moving into central midfield and playing a ball over the top for a runner in behind. With Cancelo instead adding an extra player in midfield, their attack is better set up to deal with defensive transitions.