What Football Position Am I? – Midfield Edition

In my last post we went over some more common defensive positions, if you haven’t read that, I advise you to do that after you have finished reading this post. Here is a link: What Football Position Am I? – Defensive Edition.


We are now going to be going over some midfield positions. These players fill the gap in the middle of the pitch and are vital for a number of different things. Often these players are the most well-rounded players and they can usually do a bit of everything.


Personally, my favourite position to play in is central midfield, as you get to do a nit of everything and it is well suited to my body type and style of play. I like to compare myself to Kevin De Bruyne when it comes to my style of play (but I’m obviously better…).


Once again, I’m going to start from the back and move forwards but obviously sticking to the midfield position. Not all these positions will work in every team because teams use different formations (which I will talk about in another post). However, even if your team just plays with 3 central midfielders, one of you will still be slightly more attacking and one more defensive. Even if this means swapping throughout the game, because it’s no good all 3 of you going up and attacking and then leaving nobody back. This will all make more sense when I talk about the different positions. So, I will do just that… Enjoy.



Central Defensive Midfielder

Bastian Schweinsteiger

To give you a few of the most well-known central defensive midfielders, some current players and some retired: Sergio Busquets, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Patrick Vieira, Nemanja Matic just to name a few from different leagues throughout the world. This players job is to ‘screen’ the defence, what I mean by this is they are like a first line of defence before the attackers reach the back 4. They sit just in front of the defence and often drop back even further when the opposing team is on the attack.


However, it is not all defence for these midfielders, one of the most important things a CDM can do is connect the play by receiving the ball from defence, and passing the ball to the attackers. This is extremely important, the CDM’s pass completion should be high, as they are not looking to play that risky pass every time they are on the ball.


A few important tasks that the CDM should carry out efficiently and often:


As I explained before, it is very important that you can receive the ball from the defence, turn, then spread the play by passing either out wide or up to a more attacking role. It is important that you complete this task as you are playing in a vulnerable position where, if you lose the ball, the opposition can quickly be on the attack again.


The way to do this well, is to already know where everything is. Let me explain, you need to take a mental picture of your surroundings before you receive that ball, find out where the defenders and open teammates are and sometimes even space to run into for yourself to give you a better view of the pitch. As a CDM you should be able to know where each player is at all times, and you do this by regularly checking over your shoulder and looking around. The best CDM’S are the most intelligent players, and this is proven by the ones I mentioned earlier, those midfielders knew the game like no other.


Now, although I did say you are not looking to play that risky pass every time you get the ball, this does not mean you never get the chance to make that special play. It is your job to make the decision as to when your chance is to get up and either: take that long range shot, play that dissecting pass, or arrive into the box late to get on the end of the cross or rebound. So don’t forget about attacking completely!


MaticAn important part of football is to keep the ball moving, this wears the opponent down, gives attackers chance to find space or runs, and it gives the person in possession of the ball a different view and option each time they receive the ball. This means that the CDM should focus on playing the simple pass, there is no need to hit a long ball over the top or switch the play every time you get the ball. If there is someone open, pass to them, it’s as simple as that.


Another thing that the CDM should possess is the ability to become ‘open’ at any point. What I mean by this is that the CDM is there as a spare option, and to restart play to try again. Not every play will result in a goal scoring opportunity, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. So the CDM should be there so you can recycle the ball and restart from the back.


One last thing to mention before we move on, it may be quite obvious- you need to be good at defending. Defending is going to be a big part of your game and you are going to need to support that back line of defence when the opposition team is in full out attack. Of course, you can train and get better at this so don’t worry too much if you aren’t great now- just be prepared to do a lot of defensive work.



*I am going to skip the out-and-out Central Midfielder as I am focusing on the more specialised positions. As a central midfielder you are going to be doing a bit of everything, attacking and defending. However, there is never really a straight up balance, the CM is always going to be slightly angled towards defending or attacking so this is why I am being slightly more specific.*



Centre Attacking Midfielder



These are the players that start to grab some more of the headlines, they usually get more assists, goals and successful dribbles which people are more focused on. Compared to defender which the media often seems to forget even though they are equally important. Some best CAMs in the world are: Mesut Ozil, David Silva, Miralem Pjanic, Isco and Kevin De Bruyne. Of course, there are tonnes more but these were just a few examples.


An overview of a CAM is a player who is at the front of the midfield, making crucial passes, runs and taking shots. When the team is on the attack, they become an option for the more defensive midfielder to pass to, creating space and moving around the final third. When the team is defending they are putting pressure on the opposition midfield in order to fill space and cause mistakes.


A few important tasks that the CDM should carry out efficiently and often:


You need to be a good passer. As well as making the simple passes, which every player on the pitch should be able to do efficiently. The CAM also should have vision to make the more penetrative passes which dissect the defence and lead to goal scoring opportunities. One word I mentioned, vision, this term is used a lot around the attacking midfielders. This means being able to see chances, runs, and opportunities before they even happen so that you can make that all important play. Some best attacking midfielders are amazing to watch because they seem to predict the future- and this is something an attacking midfielder must possess.


Of course, you are not born being able to ‘predict the future’. This can be trained on by practising specific scenarios, also it will come with experience… the more you play, the better you will be able to predict these chances. Also, one of the most useful training techniques in my opinion, is watching football. Watch football matches or YouTube videos and focus on the attacking midfielder, see where they are looking, how they position themselves and take it all in.


As an attacking midfielder, you will often find yourself positioned on the edge of the box, and if you are good enough, in space. Space on the edge of the box, this can mean only one thing… shoot! This means you need to have a decent shot, from range. It’s all good being able to finish a 1 on 1 chance under pressure, but an attacking midfielder doesn’t get into too many of those positions, it’s more shots from range. Take a look at some of Kevin De Bruyne’s best goals and notice how he scores multiple rockets from the edge or just outside the box. He is the perfect example of this and is someone who you can learn from immensely.




Centre attacking mid’s are given a lot more attacking license so if you enjoy attacking, but want to have a lot of the ball rather than just waiting for that one opportunity, then maybe think about playing as a CAM.



There is a part 3…


The final piece of the puzzle is next, the attacking addition. So far we have gone over the defensive and the midfielder positions. If you have not read the previous post I do advise you to do so, in order to learn about each individual position so you can make the most informed position on where you want to play. What Football Position Am I? – Defensive Edition.


Click here to read the final part: What Football Position Am I? – Attacking Edition.


I hope you enjoyed this post, if you have any questions or thoughts on it, I would be more than happy to get back to you in the comment section below. I hope you learnt something from this article.


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12 Replies to “What Football Position Am I? – Midfield Edition”

  1. In my hay-day (going back about 20 years now) I was a centre half due to my size (six foot four) and played for a number of Welsh teams in my area. When I reached about 20 a coach decided to push me into midfield for certain games to act as a brick wall between the more creative players and our defence. 

    That role adapted with me and I went on playing it until I retired four years ago. My question is this – do you feel that certain central defenders are worth trying out in central midfield as a holding player, especially if they have skills to pass a ball?

    1. Ah this is an interesting topic, thank you for bringing it up. I absolutely believe this should happen- lot’s of players start off in a certain position and then end up just staying there as it’s easier than learning a new position. They could be better suited to a different position but just never knew it because they never tried. 

      Javier Mascherano is a good example of this, he played most of his career as a Centre Half but he was needed in a defensive midfield position for a game and he now plays most of his football there! 

      Thanks for a great comment 🙂

  2. Hi Joe,

    This is great!  I’m also from the UK and a big fan of the Beautiful Game.  I watch it when I get the time and played myself until about 6 years ago.

    I don’t think, I’ve ever read such a clear and easy to follow, explanation of Football player positions and the intricacies and interactions, they have with other positions. Even as a past player myself, I always found it difficult to explain to others (including my kids) the subtleties of playing the game.

    I really like the idea of naming great players in their Midfield positions and then explaining those specialist positions.  I think that approach will give your readers and more in depth understanding of the game when they watch them play.

    You have a gift my friend!  Being able to explain something that can be rather complicated in a very clear and concise way.  I look forward to your future posts with interest. Thank you!

    I have faith, that you could explain the “offside rule” in a style, that a toddler could understand.

    Do you have plans to delve into explanation of rules and perhaps greatest players/goals of the past?


    1. Wow! Thank you for your very kind words! I am really glad you found it interesting and useful. I am amazed you have such faith in me, I don’t know about explaining the offside rule simply, I think you are putting me up to an impossible task!

      Yes, for sure I will write posts about some of the more difficult rules to understand, and also some of the best players. Those are both great idea’s so I will do that for sure

      Once again, thank you my friend!

  3. Wow, a very detailed post over midfield positions. 

    As one who obviously does not know as much as you over this topic, I would be interested in seeing specifically any examples of the videos you may be making reference to when you said: “Watch football matches or YouTube videos and focus on the attacking midfielder, see where they are looking, how they position themselves and take it all in”. Do you have any links you can share? 

    Thanks for such a great post over not just the positions, but what it takes to be good as well.  

  4. this post is totally a pure reflection of the saying ‘Football is in theory a very simple game’. When you don’t know certain rules and regulation, it will look simple, but believe me, you will keep on dancing to the tone of the referee.

    And i guess, from what i have been experiencing, Coaches often refrain from substituting defensive players in order not to disrupt the defensive posture of the team. Instead, they often replace ineffective attackers or unimaginative midfielders in order to freshen up the attacking posture and increase their chances of scoring.

    For a team that is losing a game, who do you really need to change in order to motivate a win,,, a fresh midfielder or a defender or striker?

    1. This is a really great comment and an interesting question too.

      My personal response would be, since at the end of the game most people are tired, therefore slower and more sluggish. I think it is best to bring on an attacking player, preferably a winger, who is fast. This exploits the tired players and can usually lead to some good chances.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. Hi Joe, This is excellent informative post about Football Position like center defensive and attacking midfielder. I think you are experienced football player and found that you are writing important tips like a professional coach. I will implement this for my team in my local area. I think you can also explain offside rules in such a way that one can easily understand it. I am going to bookmark your page for future use. Thanks for sharing this information with us. 

    1. Thank you very much for the great comment! I’m glad you enjoyed and that I could help you. Hope to see you on this page again soon!

  6. Hey Joe! Yeah, I agree with you, “Midfielders fill the gap in the middle of the pitch and are vital for a great number of reasons.”

    I’m a bit sad the media doesn’t pay so much attention on Midfielders playing a more defensive roll. They are equally important to those that are attacking. But because their job is not so sensationalistic, the spotlights are placed somewhere else.

    1. Yeah I totally agree, defenders and defensive midfielders are just as important as the attackers but the media seems to forget that. It’s a shame and I hope it changes soon… Thanks for your comment 🙂

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