In soccer, when you think of a midfielder you think of someone who can pass the ball and keep possession, someone who plays like Xavi and Iniesta of Barcelona. And you also think of someone who can make that killer pass that leads to a goal scoring opportunity. These are the qualities that also make a great soccer player overall.
But the greatest quality of good midfielders might just be their ability to hold the ball and keep it when they are closed down and under pressure. At Barcelona, Iniesta is a master at shielding the soccer ball while under pressure and turing defenders inside and out.
In other words, great midfielders are able to receive the ball when they're surrounded by defenders and make the pass that opens the game up once again. They're able to spin away from pressure and switch the field of play. The perfect example of a soccer player like this is Italy's Andrea Pirlo. Here's a midfielder who rarely if ever loses possession of the ball and can make that long diagonal pass to open up the game for his team.
Here's a list of attributes all midfielders should possess:
Scores goals from distance.
Comfortable on the ball when under pressure.
Creates goal scoring chances.
Plays long cross field balls - switching the attack.
High work rate.
Strong on the ball - shielding the ball under pressure.
Good vision - sees the whole soccer field.
Hits sharp crosses and long balls from anywhere on the field.
Tight control (excellent first touch on the ball).
Strong on the ball (shielding).
Plays crisp passes with both feet.
Ability to bend the ball and play angled passes.
Good fitness level - can chase back and defend and get into the goal box on an attack.
Another key quality all midfieders should possess, and really all soccer players, is the desire for the ball at your feet. It's always asking for and wanting the soccer ball. In soccer, everyone, and especially midfielders, should always ask for the ball and be in position to support their teammates.
That's probably the key aspect, knowing how to offer support and get open so you can be an outlet to your teammate who is under pressure. This means moving off the ball and breaking free from the person who is marking you.
How to become a better midfielder - in today's video, we speak to Ilkay Gündogan who will teach you how to improve as a midfielder so you can learn a few ways of thinking when you're playing in the centre of the park. JayMike went to Manchester to speak to the Turkish magician in the heart of midfield for Manchester City, where the two talked about how to improve as a midfielder and which tools young players need to learn in order to become better in the midfield positions.
Gündogan is known for running with the ball and his amazing passes which are some of the things that are good to learn how to master if you want to become a better midfielder - and hearing how Gündogan always had a ball at his feet, you understand why he was has become so good that he can now teach YOU how to improve your midfield game.