4 Different Types of Midfielders
The Attacking Midfielder (AM)
As you would assume from the name, an attacking midfielder holds more responsibility out of all the other midfielders to go attack the opposition in the hopes of scoring a goal or setting up a goal for someone else.
An AM does not carry as much responsibility to get back and defend their own goal as much as other midfielders and defenders in their team.
However, in a matter of pride and team spirit, AM’s who find themselves losing the ball to the opposition will often retrace back very deep into their own half, tackle opponents, and regain possession again.
The attacking midfield will play slightly further forward than their midfield teammates on the pitch but often sitting behind the more attacking players or the defined striker.
The attacking midfielder will often hold the number 10 shirt and are often the playmakers in the game, the ones who possess the most skill and technical ability to dribble past the defense and create goal-scoring opportunities.
A modern-day attacking midfielder is one of the most creative players in the pitch, they need to be able to unexpectedly pick a good pass to catch the opposition off-guard and also create space for attacking players to run forward onto their through balls.
Often AM’s will have top-level ability and awareness of those around them without having to look up, this permits them to have the intuition to play a pass to let another player through on goal without thinking too much about it.
The attacking mid is often redefined as a second striker for the team, they sit directly behind the number 9 (main striker) and they often have a good partnership and know when to hold the ball up to allow their attacking counterparts to get into a better position or take a shot at goal themselves.
Often teams who lack a decent attacking midfielder struggle to score goals or open up goal-scoring opportunities, whilst those who have an abundance of talented AM’s will find it easy and almost effortless to get on the score sheet.
The Defensive Midfielder (DM)
The defensive midfielder is often known as the holding midfielder and they play directly in front of the defensive line and are the furthest back out of all the midfielders.
When the opposing team is in position and on the attack, the defensive midfielder will often drop back deeper to provide extra help in defense to break up play and for their team to regain possession.
Just like an attacking midfielder, a DM must be able to read the game well and anticipate what is coming or could come next. This mastery allows them to close down the opposition by intercepting passes and also putting in important tackles to avoid the opposition from attacking further up the field.
Defensive midfielders are some of the best tacklers on the pitch and can perfectly time a tackle to dispossess the opponent without fouling them.
However, the rate of play can sometimes get away from a DM especially when they’re against top-quality opposition and they often end up being the player who fouls the most and also receives a high number of yellow or red cards in the season.
A poorly timed tackle or a tug back on the shirt of the opposition by a DM will result in a foul or yellow card, but it is something they gladly take on the chin to avoid the other team progressing up the pitch at rapid speed.
DMs need to have a strong work-rate to be able to close down the opposition, force errors upon the other team, and also disrupt the opponent's attacking moves and pass before it reaches the defense.
The Wide Midfielder (LM or RM)
The wide midfielder often gets misconstrued with those who hold the right or left-wing position, this is not to get confused as the winger is considered as a forward or at the very least an attacking midfielder.
A wide midfielder should have good passing skills and also be strong at shielding the ball from the opposition. They should be confident in supporting the defensive players but also supply accurate forward passes to the more attacking players whether that be down the touchline or a long pass across the other side of the pitch to a teammate running onto the ball.
A wide midfield player is effectively the wider playmaker with a big passing range. Left and right midfielders (wide) or often played in the 4-4-2 formation where there are two strikers in front of them, two other midfielders in between them, and 4 defenders behind them.
The wide midfielders are often too used to stretching and tire out the opposition, often causing them to run either side of the pitch chasing the ball.
The more central positions will play out to the touchline where the wide midfielder resides which then draws out the opposition’s players and leaves gaps in the middle of the field where the attacking midfielders and forwards can exploit to score goals.
The modern-day age of soccer is seeing the formation 4-4-2 fade from the game as players in the full-back position are playing more offensively so there is not always the need for a refined wide midfielder.
The wide midfielder is considered to be merged with the role of a winger (attacking midfielder/forward) nowadays and their role is to run quickly up and down the flanks with the ball at their feet to get the ball forward as quickly as possible.
Central Midfielder (CM)
Central midfielders are one of the most hardworking players on the pitch, they play offensively and defensively depending on where the ball is and are always ready for action.
A CM is often the engine behind a team. They can frequently be found in different positions of the pitch and will have good ball distribution to allow other players to more effectively around the field.
Central midfielders are very vocal during games as they can see what is going on around them and give guidance to other players to improve play. CM’s dictate the tempo and speed of a game and often hold onto possession more to slow down the game if the team is rattled from a conceded goal.
They are very strategic and will increase the rate of their passes to speed up the game to get the ball moving better and further up the field towards the opposition's goal. Center midfielders often pop up in little pockets in the field and are constantly moving around to allow other players to look and pass to them.
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