It hurt not putting Sergio Busquets at the top of this seven since the Barcelona man is such a special footballer, but it is a pretty special player who takes top spot as well. Fernandinho has been an excellent servant to Manchester City for six seasons, but since the arrival of Pep Guardiola and particularly since the start of last season he has been absolutely superb.
He will look to pick the ball up in deep positions and work the ball forwards with urgency, all the while keeping up with play.
The Spaniard knows his worth in an attacking team, and takes ball possession to a whole new level. A 90% pass success rate across all competitions this season typifies the 32-year-old’s accomplished nature.
Kante is renowned for his relentless running, selfless attitude and big smile, as well as coming across as one of the most humble top class footballers in the world. Put him back in his position and he may well challenge for top spot here, as things stand, I’m sure no-one would begrudge him third place.
After the initial love in over his record-breaking passing stats (he averages 94.8 per game, completion ratio of 90.5%) there have been questions asked over how proficient he is defensively - 1.7 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, one clearance per game for what it's worth.
Tall, lanky Frenchman with a shiny bald head Steven Nzonzi comes in next on our list. Good at winning the ball on the ground or in the air, Steven Nzonzi is an asset to any team in the world. He has a wealth of experience that comes from several years of sweating the shirt for many teams in many leagues.
For a defensive midfielder, this is no different from any other position. The faster a defensive midfielder is the greater their ability to be more effective in their role.
Sending the ball through the middle is a risky move, while the left or right is a much better solution. The role “Deep/Advanced Playmaker” requires a second choice – tries killer balls often.
Grown by his choice outside of the big academies, specifically at Willem II, he came to Ajax in 2015, at the age of 18, when he already debuted for Willem II‘s first team. His first game with the Lancers arrived lately for the league’s standards, as only after an entire season with the second team he got his debut in November 2016, during a season spent half the time with the second team and the other half on the bench. So, de Jong became a starter only last season but his ascent has been rapid: it just took him one and a half year to sign for Barcelona for €75M (he will move at the end of this season).
Miralem Pjanic is 29 and just a few seasons ago, not so many people would’ve believed that he could’ve turned into a playmaker. The Bosnian is one of those players born as trequartistas but that, trying to adapt to the evolution of football, have progressively lowered their game range. To play on the last quarter of the pitch, it takes the ability to avoid pressure at high intensity, in narrow spaces, working hard with the goal behind and in physical duels; that’s why Pjanic has initially been played as inside midfielder at Roma and then, once at Juve, Allegri played him as a playmaker.
The holding midfielder is a role seldom mentioned on the playground when kids are using jumpers for goalposts and even in the professional game it’s a position that has long gone underappreciated, particularly by the average fan but times are changing and now pretty much every team has an anchorman in their line up.
First, I would improve attribute through Individual Training Focus, and after that, I would try “shots from distance“.
Because of the role a defensive midfielder plays in orchestrating so much of the way the team plays the other players naturally look to the defensive midfielder to lead them.
The Uruguayan arrived at the Emirates in the summer and is already becoming something of a cult hero among Arsenal supporters.
Eric Dier is a classic box-to-box midfielder who is ready to run back and forth from his box to the opponent’s box and back again, chasing the ball wherever it goes without tiring. He possesses a good passing ability and is very quick on the counter-attack. Eric dier is a part of the Tottenham side that is aiming for glory, and the England side that has proven themselves to be very capable. He has a Champions League silver medal to show for his efforts.
On the rare event that the defensive midfielder has to fill in as a forward, the player should be intelligent and proactive. This will ensure that the decision he makes is the best for the team and his unmanned position will not cause any dangerous counter attacks.
One would’ve been forgiven to have missed out on Rodrigo’s name among the galaxy of stars in the LaLiga. Yet, with each passing week, he is carving a niche for himself.