Defensive positions are always the most important ones in football. If they allow multiple goals and dangerous offensive players to advance, they would really discount the efforts from the rest of the team, making the win seem accomplishable.
A defensive midfielder tries to stay close to their team’s defense around the goalkeeper. The position is often underestimated, because these players rarely ever score goals, but it is actually a key position for the strategy of the entire team. Defense is the basis around each game, you can ask any good coach. That is why midfielders (and defensive midfielder in particular) are so essential.
Player in such a position is often a person with a lot of stamina. Good physique and speed are some other potential qualities needed. They tend to become team leaders (captains) quickly.
Main task of the defensive midfielder is to cover the gaps opened during the offensive phase when they don’t have the ball. A lot of energy is necessary until the entire game of the team is reorganized. The DM’s role itself is very strategic especially in 1 on 1 game.
One of the secondary, but still important tasks of the defensive midfielder is to deal with high balls. The classic well-built player has the skill to catch a maximum of such balls allowing their team to start a counter offense.
During offensive attacks these midfielders mainly cover positions. They are not expected to score or assist with the scoring, but they still support the team in case of opponent’s counter offense.
Let’s take a look at the different functions of the defensive midfielder one by one. The most common are:
– Typical defensive midfielder – his job is to cover the gaps in the defensive line and to keep the opponents from organizing quick counter offense as well as to cover the offensive midfielders when they get the ball;
– Defensive deep-lying playmaker – this subtype of the position has another task (aside from the usual one) to pass to counteroffensive fast wingers;
– Ball winning midfielder – in general, these midfielders are not part of the team’s offensive. They just have to shut any counteroffensive opponents in;
– Anchorman – just like the name suggests, this midfielder has to keep an equal distance between the defensive and the midfield line, so that the opponent wouldn’t pass through effortlessly;
– Half-back – their tasks are both defensive and offensive. These players are used when their team is a class above the other one, so the opponent quite rarely reaches the gate;
– Regista – this midfielder is more free in their actions helping push the opponents back to their half.
Of course, the subtypes of this position are quite particular and the tactics of football players can be quite often switched depending on the condition of the team and other factors.
Famous players at this position: Gennaro Gattuso is a typical example of a midfielder playing it tough, running a lot during the 90 minutes of game. Some other midfielders were Carlos Dunga, Cambiaso, Essiene, Schweinsteiger. Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets is an example of currently playing defensive midfielder.