A midfielder is an association football position. Midfielders are generally positioned on the field between their team's defenders and forwards. Some midfielders play a disciplined defensive role, breaking up attacks, and are otherwise known as defensive midfielders. Others blur the boundaries, being more mobile and efficient in passing: they are commonly referred to as deep-lying midfielders, play-makers, box-to-box, or holding midfielders. The number of midfielders on a team and their assigned roles depends on the team's formation; the collective group of these players on the field is sometimes referred to as the midfield. Most managers assign at least one midfielder to disrupt the opposing team's attacks, while others may be tasked with creating goals, or have equal responsibilities between attack and defence. Midfielders are the players who typically travel the greatest distance during a match. Because midfielders arguably have the most possession during a game they are among the fittest players on the pitch.
1 Central midfielder
1.1 Box-to-box midfielder
2 Wide midfielder
2.1 Wing half
3 Defensive midfielder
3.1 Holding midfielder 3.2 Deep-lying playmaker 3.3 Centre half back
4 Attacking midfielder
4.1 Advanced playmaker 4.2 False attacking midfielder
5 "False 10" or "central winger" 6 Winger 7 Inverted winger 8 See also 9 References 10 External links
Former Spain midfielder
Central or centre midfielders are players whose role is divided roughly equally between attack and defence and to dominate the play around the centre of the pitch. These players will try to pass the ball to the team's attacking midfielders and forwards and may also help their team's attacks by making runs into the opposition's penalty area and attempting shots on goal themselves. When the opposing team has the ball, a central midfielder may drop back to protect the goal or move forward and press the opposition ball-carrier to recover the ball. A centre midfielder defending their goal will move in front of their centre-backs in order to block long shots by the opposition and possibly track opposition midfielders making runs towards the goal. The 4–3–3 and 4–5–1 formations each use three central midfielders. The 4−4−2 formation may use two central midfielders, and in the 4–2–3–1 formation one of the two deeper midfielders may be a central midfielder. Box-to-box midfielder The term box-to-box midfielder refers to central midfielders who are hard-working and who have good all-round abilities, which makes them skilled at both defending and attacking. These players can therefore track back to their own box to make tackles and block shots and also run to the opponents' box to try to score. The change of trends and the deviation from the standard 4–4–2 formation to the 4–2–3–1 formation imposed restrictions on the typical box-to-box midfielders of the 80s, as teams' two midfield roles were now often divided into "holders" or "creators". Wide midfielder Left and right midfielders have a role balanced between attack and defence, similar to that of central midfielders, but they are positioned closer to the touchlines of the pitch. They may be asked to cross the ball into the opponents' penalty area to make scoring chances for their teammates, and when defending they may put pressure on opponents who are trying to cross. Common modern formations that include left and right midfielders are the 4−4−2, the 4−4−1−1, the 4–2–3–1 and the 4−5−1 formations. Jonathan Wilson describes the development of the 4−4−2 formation: "…the winger became a wide midfielder, a shuttler, somebody who might be expected to cross a ball but was also meant to put in a defensive shift." A notable example of a right midfielder is David Beckham.
WM formation: the wing-halves (yellow) occupy a more defensive position supporting the inside forwards.
Wing half The historic position of wing half (half-back) was given to midfielders who played near the side of the pitch. It became obsolete as wide players with defensive duties have tended to become more a part of the defence as full-backs. Defensive midfielder
Spain holding midfielder
Defensive midfielders are midfield players who focus on protecting
their team's goal. These players may defend a zone in front of their
team's defence, or man mark specific opposition attackers.
Defensive midfielders may also move to the full-back or centre-back
positions if those players move forward to join in an attack.
…we knew that Zidane, Raúl and Figo didn't track back, so we had to put a guy in front of the back four who would defend. “ ”
Initially, a defensive midfielder, or "destroyer", and a playmaker, or
"creator", were often fielded alongside each other as a team's two
holding central midfielders. The destroyer was usually responsible for
making tackles, regaining possession, and distributing the ball to the
creator, while the creator was responsible for retaining possession
and keeping the ball moving, often with long passes out to the flanks,
in the manner of a more old-fashioned deep-lying playmaker or
"regista". Early examples of a destroyer are Nobby Stiles, Herbert
Wimmer, Marco Tardelli, while later examples include Claude
Makélélé and Javier Mascherano, although several of these players
also possessed qualities of other types of midfielders, and were
therefore not confined to a single role. Early examples of a creator
would be Gérson, Glenn Hoddle, and Sunday Oliseh, while a more recent
example is Xabi Alonso, although the latter also had qualities which
are mostly associated with carriers or destroyers. The latest and
third type of holding midfielder developed as a box-to-box midfielder,
or "carrier", neither entirely destructive nor creative, who is
capable of winning back possession and subsequently advancing from
deeper positions either by distributing the ball to a teammate and
making late runs into the box, or by carrying the ball him or herself;
recent examples of this type of player are Fernandinho, Yaya Touré,
and Bastian Schweinsteiger, while
Italian deep-lying playmaker
A deep-lying playmaker is a holding midfielder who specializes in ball skills such as passing, rather than defensive skills like tackling. When this player has the ball, they may attempt longer or more complex passes than other holding players. They may try to set the tempo of their team's play, retain possession, or build plays through short exchanges, or they may try to pass the ball long to a centre forward or winger, or even pass short to a teammate in the hole, the area between the opponents' defenders and midfielders. In Italy, the deep-lying playmaker is known as a "regista", whereas in Brazil, it is known as a "meia-armador". Writer Jonathan Wilson described Xabi Alonso's role: "although capable of making tackles, [he] focused on keeping the ball moving, occasionally raking long passes out to the flanks to change the angle of attack."
2–3–5 formation: the wing-halves (yellow) flank the centre half.
Centre half back The historic central 'half back' position gradually retreated from the midfield line to provide increased protection against centre forwards – that dedicated defensive role is still commonly referred to as centre half as a legacy of its origins. Attacking midfielder An attacking midfielder is a midfield player who is positioned in an advanced midfield position, usually between central midfield and the team's forwards, and who has a primarily offensive role. Some attacking midfielders are called trequartisti or fantasisti (Italian: three-quarter specialist, i.e. a creative playmaker between the forwards and the midfield), who are usually mobile, creative and highly skillful players, known for their deft touch, vision, ability to shoot from range, and passing prowess. However, not all attacking midfielders are trequartistas – some attacking midfielders are very vertical and are essentially auxiliary attackers who serve to link-up play, hold up the ball, or provide the final pass, i.e. secondary strikers. According to positioning along the field, attacking midfield may be divided into left, right and central attacking midfield roles but mostly important he is a striker behind the forwards. A central attacking midfielder may be referred to as a playmaker, or number ten (due to the association of the number 10 shirt with this position). A good attacking midfielder needs good passing abilities, vision, the ability to make long shots, and solid dribbling skills. Advanced playmaker
Italian offensive playmaker
These players typically serve as the offensive pivot of the team, and are sometimes said to be "playing in the hole," although this term can also be used as deep-lying forward. The attacking midfielder is an important position that requires the player to possess superior technical abilities in terms of passing and dribbling, as well as, perhaps more importantly, the ability to read the opposing defence in order to deliver defence-splitting passes to the striker. This specialist midfielder's main role is to create good shooting and goal-scoring opportunities using superior vision, control, and technical skill, by making crosses, through balls, and headed knockdowns to teammates. They may try to set up shooting opportunities for themselves by dribbling or performing a give-and-go with a teammate. Attacking midfielders may also make runs into the opponents' penalty area in order to shoot from another teammate's pass. Where a creative attacking midfielder, i.e. an advanced playmaker, is regularly utilized, he or she is commonly the team's star player, and often wears the number 10 shirt. As such, a team is often constructed so as to allow their attacking midfielder to roam free and create as the situation demands. One such popular formation is the 4–4–2 "diamond" (or 4–1–2–1–2), in which defined attacking and defensive midfielders replace the more traditional pair of central midfielders. Known as the "fantasista" or "trequartista" in Italy, in Brazil, the offensive playmaker is known as the "meia atacante," whereas in Argentina and Uruguay, it is known as the "enganche." False attacking midfielder The false attacking midfielder description has been used in Italian football to describe a player who is seemingly playing as an attacking midfielder in a 4–3–1–2 formation, but who eventually drops deeper into midfield, drawing opposing players out of position and creating space to be exploited by teammates making attacking runs; the false-attacking midfielder will eventually sit in a central midfield role and function as a deep-lying playmaker. The false-attacking midfielder is therefore usually a creative and tactically intelligent player with good vision, technique, movement, passing ability, and striking ability from distance. He should also be a hard-working player, who is able to read the game and help the team defensively. "False 10" or "central winger" The "false 10" or "central winger" is a type of midfielder, which differs from the false-attacking midfielder. Much like the "false 9," his or her specificity lies in the fact that, unlike a traditional playmaker who stays behind the striker in the centre of the pitch, the false 10's goal is to drift wide when in possession of the ball to help both the wingers and fullbacks to overload the flanks. This means two problems for the opposing midfielders: either they let the false 10 drift wide, and his or her presence, along with both the winger and the fullback, creates a three-on-two player advantage wide; or they follow the false 10, but leave space in the centre of the pitch for wingers or onrushing midfielders to exploit. False 10s are usually traditional wingers who are told to play in the centre of the pitch, and their natural way of playing makes them drift wide and look to provide deliveries into the box for teammates. On occasion, the false-10 can also function in a different manner alongside a false-9, usually in a 4–6–0 formation, disguised as either a 4–3–3 or 4–2–3–1 formation. When other forwards or false-9s drop deep and draw defenders away from the false-10s, creating space in the middle of the pitch, the false-10 will then also surprise defenders by exploiting this space and moving out of position once again, often undertaking offensive dribbling runs forward towards goal, or running on to passes from false-9s, which in turn enables them to create goalscoring opportunities or go for goal themselves. Winger "Left winger" redirects here. For the comics character, see Left-Winger (comics). For the political position, see Left-wing politics. "Right winger" redirects here. For the political position, see Right-wing politics.
GK CB CB RB LB RWB LWB CDM CDM RM LM CM CM RAM LAM CAM CAM RF LF CF CF
Players in the bold positions can be referred to as wingers.
In modern football, the terms winger or wide player refer to a
non-defender who plays on the left or right sides of the pitch. These
terms can apply to left or right midfielders, left or right attacking
midfielders, or left or right forwards. Left or right-sided
defenders such as wing-backs or full-backs are generally not called
In the 2−3−5 formation popular in the late 19th century wingers
remained mostly near the touchlines of the pitch, and were expected to
cross the ball for the team's inside and centre forwards.
Traditionally, wingers were purely attacking players and were not
expected to track back and defend. This began to change in the 1960s.
In the 1966 World Cup, England manager
Wingers are indicated in red, while the "wide men" (who play to the flanks of the central midfielders) are indicated in blue.
A winger is an attacking midfielder who is stationed in a wide
position near the touchlines. Wingers such as
Providing a "wide presence" as a passing option on the flank. To beat the opposing full-back either with skill or with speed. To read passes from the midfield that give them a clear crossing opportunity, when going wide, or that give them a clear scoring opportunity, when cutting inside towards goal. To double up on the opposition winger, particularly when he or she is being "double-marked" by both the team's full back and winger.
The prototypical winger is fast, tricky and enjoys 'hugging' the touchline, that is, running downfield close to the touchline and delivering crosses. However, players with different attributes can thrive on the wing as well. Some wingers prefer to cut infield (as opposed to staying wide) and pose a threat as playmakers by playing diagonal passes to forwards or taking a shot at goal. Even players who are not considered quick, have been successfully fielded as wingers at club and international level for their ability to create play from the flank. Occasionally wingers are given a free role to roam across the front line and are relieved of defensive responsibilities. The typical abilities of wingers include:
Technical skill to beat a full-back in a one-to-one situation. Pace, to beat the full-back one-on-one. Crossing ability when out wide. Good off-the-ball ability when reading a pass from the midfield or from fellow attackers. Good passing ability and composure, to retain possession while in opposition territory. The modern winger should also be comfortable on either wing so as to adapt to quick tactical changes required by the coach.
Although wingers are a familiar part of football, the use of wingers is by no means universal. There are many successful football teams who operate without wingers. A famous example is Milan, who typically play in a narrow midfield diamond formation or in a Christmas tree formation (4–3–2–1), relying on full-backs to provide the necessary width down the wings. Inverted winger
An inverted winger is a modern tactical development of the traditional
winger position. Most wingers are assigned to either side of the field
based on their footedness, with right-footed players on the right and
left-footed players on the left. This assumes that assigning a
player to their natural side ensures a more powerful cross as well as
greater ball-protection along the touch-lines. However, when the
position is inverted and a winger instead plays inside-out on the
opposite flank (i.e., a right-footed player as a left inverted
winger), they effectively become supporting strikers and primarily
assume a role in the attack.
As opposed to traditionally pulling the opponent's full-back out and
down the flanks before crossing the ball in near the by-line,
positioning a winger on the opposite side of the field allows him or
her to cut-in around the 18-yard box, either threading passes between
defenders or taking a shot on goal using his or her dominant foot.
This offensive tactic has found popularity in the modern game due to
the fact that it gives traditional wingers increased mobility as
playmakers and goalscorers, such as the left-footed Domenico
Berardi of Sassuolo who achieved 30 career goals faster than any
player in last half-century of
Association football positions
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Media related to Association football midfielders at