The defensive midfield role is one of the most important on the pitch, but finding the right balance between midfield and defence can be difficult. A poor decision in defensive midfield can change the game in a negative way, but if you get it right, you reap the rewards. Defensive midfielder, Fernando, of Manchester City explains..
"A defensive midfielder must be in the right position all the time. Where's that? It can depend on the situation but, crucially, you have to be able to read the game," Fernando says. This position on the field requires thinking in many areas, but Fernando says that your main duties are without the ball.
It's all about how you stop the opposition. "When your team is attacking, be ready to support your team-mates, but you must also be aware of a possible counter-attack so you can be there to break it up. The balance of the team depends on you."
That's right, the pressure is on you to defend, distribute the ball and counter attack. So how do you know what the right choice to make is? Fernando is firm on the idea that "once you've broken up play and you're in possession, try to move the ball away from danger- but don't put a team-mate in trouble by passing to them when they're marked." It's simple. "Clear the ball and alleviate pressure."
However, on a football pitch not everyone wants you to do the same thing. "Some managers ask you to begin an attack when you get the ball; others want you to pass it quickly to the creative players." Confidence is key on the field and Fernando pushes this point. "You must be confident that you're going to either pick the right pass or carry the ball forward."
When it comes to marking, Fernando finds that "marking a fast player is a nightmare." Not every defensive midfielder has speed to burn, so you must find another alternative rather than matching them with pace. "If you can't keep up with them, then you'd better make sure you turn it into a physical battle. The key to stopping them is anticipating the pass and closing them down before they touch the ball.
"In a one-versus-one situation, it's tricky: if you get them too tight then they will turn past you, but if you give them too much space then they will sprint past you. You have to use your body and your brain."