A Center Midfielder is pure and simple the brain of the team.
Arguably the most difficult position other than keeper is the player that everything must go through.
Keeping the rhythm of the game, being dangerous going forward and being able to link to every player on the pitch are a few of the important roles of a world class center mid.
De Bruyne, Modric, De Jong, Silva and the list goes on and on are players that bring so much to a team through their understanding of the game and ability to perform in the center of the park at the highest possible levels. Have a look at what you still need to add to your game to make that next leap in your game.
The reason you may see great pro players that used to be center midfielders when they were younger is because this position develops the most all around players which attributes are easily transferable to any other position.
Also wherever you move them they go to that position with a great touch, vision and overall high IQ of the game.
If you are a center midfielder and you may not be playing as much as you want be open to the idea of changing positions should your coaching suggest it.
You may find that your game gets raised another level playing in a position that is less stressful than center mid and suits your skill set more.
What people are referring to is their position number on the field. Every position has a number associated with it and the three center midfield positions are the 6, 8 and 10.
The #6 is your center mid that is a defensive rock that protects the back line and does a lot of the dirty work for the team, great examples of pro's who do this include Kante, Casemiro and Fernandinho to name a few.
The #8 is your classic box to box center midfielder who does a bit of everything and is your all around center mid. Jordan Henderson from Liverpool and Kovacivic from Chelsea are solid examples of the traditional #6.
Lastly everyone thinks they are a #10! You, me my mom we all think we are the playmaker brain of the team, and of course we are! Kroos, De Bruyne and Thiago are these types of special players that we love to watch who make the game sing!
Here are the rest of the position numbers in case you were wondering:
Well are you an attacking midfielder (typically referred to as the #10) or are you a a box to box midfielder (#8) or maybe you are the next Kante putting in tackles and disrupting the play of the other team (#6).
No matter the type of center mid you are you want to have a decent balance of both defending and attack in your game but specializing in one.
Look at a Kante or a Casemiro for Real Madrid. These players are clearly both defensive midfielders using their tackling, high work rate and aggressive nature to affect the game but they also have a decent level of skill on the ball.
This is what makes them such great pro's, they know what they do well and in attack they keep it simple.
There are so many reasons why most think it's the most difficult to play. One is the technical and tactical challenges along with the pressure of being the orchestrator of the team.
We get it your skillful, get the ball of your feet and limit your touches until you're in the final third.
If you're looking for a more in depth look at the fitness demands of a center midfielder have a look at his scholarly article that discusses the Intensity and Duration of Intermittent Exercise and Recovery During a Soccer Match
Some of these attributes cannot be taught, some are things that many great players have just been blessed with. These attributes are associated with non technical or physical needs of the player.
A great professional level center midfielder is discipline and simple. As a player moves up the ranks from club to university to pro this holds more and more true.
A player may be able to get away with it in their pick up games but as you develop as a player your speed of play and speed of thought must increase too if you plan on playing on the biggest of stages as a quality center midfielder.
There is no perfect mold for any position, including the center of the park.
Small, quick, tall, lanky the list goes on and on. Great center mids come in all shapes and sizes but they all poses similar qualities.
Whether you are a defensive center mid, attacking center mid or playing flat playing simple, one and two touch is a staple for success in the position.
Players with enough discipline to play simple for ninety minutes are difficult to find and at the pro level with the speed of play and players increasing this is that much more important.
That’s an easy yes. All great center midfielders need to have the ability to play the ball with both feet both short and long.
Well in any typical game players will be pushed and pulled into different parts of the pitch where playing it with their non dominant foot is the possible outlet. Having confidence to distribute, serve, dribble and take a first touch with both feet expands the options of success in your game.
At the professional level players become equally good with both feet in all areas of the game because that's what the game demands at the highest level.
That answer depends on several things such as the opponent, your teams talent level, coaches strategy, pitch conditions and importance of game.
In general terms a team will play with three in the middle if they want to defensively secure the middle of the park and the opponents attack through the heart of the team.
When coaches talk about “holding the middle” protecting the opponent from penetrating the middle is what they are referring to. It all depends on the players a team has and the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition.
Show your coach and teammates that you are flexible and can play in any of the three center midfield roles (#6, #8 or #10).
Yes and No. As long as there isn't too much of a liability in one area in the middle of the park it can work.
Take Xavi and Iniesta for example, they are similar players but it works because they have Busquets holding down the fort for them. Without him they would have trouble on the defensive side of the ball. Good thing they never give the ball up though.
If you join a new team as a center mid really have a look at who your teammates are and ask yourself what can you bring to the middle of the park that doesn't exist right now and how can you compliment who they already have.
Do you have a great story or tip about this position?