Helpful Tips on Learning to Play Defensive Center-Midfielder
Becoming the game's greatest defensive midfielder is no easy task, it takes an unrelenting engine and physical stamina, high level game IQ, and the willingness to lay it all on the line for your team.
Let's take a look at how you can step up and become the sport's next great defensive center-midfielder.
Learn to Read the Game
Developing your ability to read the game at a high level is one of the most important player traits you need to develop of you're going to play the no. 6 role for your squad (defensive center-midfielder). Reading the game comes from playing and training, from hours and hours of small-sided-games, football in the streets, pickup at a local park, the more you can immerse yourself in the sport the better you'll be able to decipher what your opponents are thinking even before they do.
Take a look at how one of the game's greatest-ever defensive center-midfielders, Claude Makelele, used to read opponents and sniff out danger:
Supercharge Your Engine
The best defensive center-midfielders cover miles and miles of ground during a match, it's just part and parcel with the no. 6 role, in many cases you will be asked to compensate for the defensive deficiencies of other players around you, so there's no denying that if you want to become the next great player in this position you're going to need to stay in peak physical shape year-round
Watch how N'Golo Kante eats up the ground with his supercharged engine:
Don't Neglect Technical Proficiency
There are tons of hardmen in the game, lumbering oafs that are always thrilled at the prospect of lunging into a tackle, sawing someone off at the knees, or sweeping a player from their feet with no intention of playing the ball.
If you truly want to become the next great defensive center-midfielder, and play at the highest level, in addition to learning to read the game, and proving your incredible fitness level, then you've also got to devote your energies to becoming a player with high level technicality. Just being a strongman won't make you a next level player.
Skill and comfort with the ball, in combination with mental and physical attributes, are the keys to succeeding in this position.
Edgar Davids was one of the toughest players ever to play the game, but his technical ability was on par with greats like Ronaldinho and Riquelme:
Play with Personality
Many modern professional football players are paid exorbitant sums of money at very early stages in their development, and at times it seems as though this current generation of players is spoiled and don't understand what it means to work hard.
Conversely, the challenges faced by legends of the game like Roy Keane and Gennaro Gattuso seemed to forge these players of a bygone era into huge personalities on the pitch.
So the next time you step out onto the pitch, playing the no. 6 position, the role of defensive center-midfielder, make sure you play with personality like Keane used to: