So you wanna be an Attacking Center Midfielder eh? Well there are some important things you need to remember when playing such a unique position. First the coach and team expects you to generate offense and be a threat every time you touch the ball.
Either you have a talent for being creative on the ball or you're just that lazy player we all know who wants all the glory with minimal running, we've all played with your type don't worry, and at the pro ranks you exist too. Hey but if you help put balls in the net, you won't see anybody complaining. You are the link between the midfield line and the striker, you have dynamite in your boots and your job is to get fans on their feet, go on now make it happen.
What Are the Defensive Responsibilities of the Position?
Believe it or not the position does come with a set a of defensive responsibilities much like every position on the field.
The most important element of a sound defence is ball pressure and that is what is required from the position. Putting opposing sides center backs, outside backs and center mids under pressure goes a long way in your teams ability to shut down an opponent from the root of their attack.
An attacking center midfielder can also create much of their attack through this pressure. Players coughing up the ball, taking bad touches and serving balls into difficult areas allow your team to capitalize on those potential mistakes.
Top 5 Attributes of A Pro Level Attacking Center Midfielder
1. Ability to take players on at speed in the final third
2. Linking up with the striker
3. Creating goal scoring opportunities for other players
4. Pressure on the opponents back line
5. Clinical Finisher
Why Do Teams Play with An Attacking Center Midfielder?
Well most teams will play with an attacking center mid versus a defensive one is for many reasons such as:
1) The opposition doesn't have a strong middle of the park allowing a team to push more men forward
2) Looking to generate a little more offense by pushing a midfielder higher on the pitch
3) The striker needs an early link and compliment not being able to do it all on their own.
4) The team playing with that attacking center mid has two defensively sound center mids enabling them to push more players forward.
Is it More of A Central Position or A Wide Position?
Generally the position is played in the middle of the field just above the center mids and below the striker.
In terms of where to play on the field throughout the course of a match it depends on the instruction given to the player from his/her coach. Generally the player in this position has the freedom to roam as they see fit.
Central, deep and in wide areas you are likely to find a dangerous player trying to create things for his team for a well balanced dynamic attack throughout the course of ninety minutes.
Technical Attributes of A Great Attacking Center Mid:
-Technically gifted foot skills (able to take players on, play in small spaces and keep the ball under control in all positions)
-Technically sound service (able to play through balls, long balls, crosses etc.)
Physical Attributes of A Great Attacking Center Mid:
-Strong Lower Body Strength (able to shoot from long and short distances)
-Strong Upper Body Strength (able to be a physical threat in the air finishing and winning head balls)
-Strong vertical leaping ability (to be dangerous in the air in and around the box
-Strong low center of gravity (protecting the ball from defenders waiting for teammates to join the attack)
-Quick first step (able to dribble past players at speed in the final third)
Essential Foundational Attributes of A Great Attacking Center Mid:
-A threat every time they touch the ball
-Relentless pressure on the opposing defensive third
-Creative in tight spaces in and around the opponents box
-Clinical finisher of the ball
-Hero quality (able to put the team on their back and finish the game with one strike of the ball)
-The link from the midfielders to striker
It isn't necessary but a quality that never hurts to have in any position never mind this one, is pace. Pure out and out speed to run at defenders terrorizing their defensive shape and confidence until the ref blows the game dead.
It takes a special player to play in this role. They need to be creative, dangerous and persistent in their attack. The player that plays here is aware that they have the ability to score and create but is looking out for the striker and their confidence knowing that they need to be on the end of more goals then them. An attacking center midfielder is a player to key an eye on if your a defender all game long, because all it takes is one moment for them to change the game.
Do you have a great story or tip about this position?