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
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!
An 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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