5 Qualities of a Great Center Midfielder
One of my coaches used to say, “a good player make themselves look good, but a great player makes their teammates look good.”
I think great center midfielders do that, and more.
Great center midfielders typically have these 5 qualities:
1. They are 50/50 ball winners
If neither team has possession, a great center midfielder is usually in the process of winning the ball.
Whether in the air or on the ground, center mids are tenacious and gritty players, they do whatever it takes to get the ball. They go hard into tackles because they know if they are winning the battle in the center of the field, their chances of overall winning the game are favorable.
2. They are crafty
Once they do have possession of the ball, their foot skills take over. Great center midfielders are magicians who can finesse with the ball and make whoever is defending them look silly.
They work out of tricky situations in order to put their teammates into good spots.
3. They are visionaries
Center midfielders constantly have their head on a swivel, meaning they see the entire field.
They have to be aware there is a defender approaching them quickly. They have to see the open space a forward or outside mid is running into.
4. They are intelligent
They play to their teammates strengths in order to benefit everyone. They know when they should carry the ball themselves and go 1v1, and they know when to give the ball up.
They also realize when they need to balance and stay put in the middle of the field so that there isn’t too much of a gap between the defensive and offensive lines.
5. They are the playmakers
The greatest center mids are the quarterbacks. Sure, they win the 50/50 battles, are crafty, have great vision, and are smart, but they consistently combine all of these attributes and orchestrate the game. They have the ability to pull the strings of other players to get the outcome they want, and when they do it well, they win.
Sometimes center midfielders don’t get the credit they deserve because they aren’t scoring fancy goals or making incredible defensive stops. The greatest center mids put their heads down and win battles to set their teammates up for success.
One of the greatest feelings in the world is after your team scores and one of your teammates comes up to you and says, “That only happened because you won that tackle back there.”