A defensive midfielder is perhaps one of the most important players in a modern game. He/she can change the tempo of the game.
To be a good defensive midfielder, he/she needs to have many attributes and skills.
First and foremost he/she should always put the team first instead of one self.
He/she should always be ready to provide cover for the back four defenders at all times. Hence he/she should always operate in and around the circle center area. He/she should always be ready to anticipate any attack launched by the opposing players.
The defensive midfielder should always be the first to provide good, clean and hard tackle to the opposing players. By doing so it is hoped that the defensive midfielder can temporary upset the flow of the attack.
The defensive midfielder is also expected to intercept, keep possession and distribute the ball to his fellow teammates.
In order to accomplish all of the above, the defensive midfielder is expected to have a very good stamina. He/she is expected to last the entire duration of 90 minutes plus extra time. Where other players may fail in their fitness endurance, the defensive midfielder is expected to carry the team towards the finished line.
Besides stamina, the defensive midfielder is expected to have strong determination to succeed in his role just like his/her other teammates. He/she should be very determined not to allow opposing players to get past him/her area of control. He/she should be the first to put in a strong and clean tackle on the opposing players. He/she should have the vision to distribute the ball to his/her fellow teammates.
Once the defensive midfielder regains control of the ball from the opposing players, he is expected to pass accurately and effectively to his fellow teammates. He/she should be tactically aware of where his best options to lay a pass to his fellow teammates.
In today’s modern soccer game, the defensive midfielder must be a very intelligent player. He must be proactive and must be ready at all times to anticipate his/her opponent moves.
Hence the following picture illustrates the importance of a defensive midfielder Lucas in a typical 3-4-1-2
setup .The rectangle area indicates Lucas’s area of responsibility when defending or when in attack. As Lucas regains possession of the ball , he needs to be quick to redistribute the ball to a fellow teammate.
The next picture will show how Lucas can quickly change Liverpool into an attack mode.
Having a good defensive midfielder is very crucial to a team. It could mean success or failure for the outcome of the game. Some good examples of a good defensive midfielder are Michael Carrick at Manchester United, Nigel De Jong at AC Milan, Gareth Barry at Manchester City and Michael Essien at Real Madrid.