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In football (soccer), a midfielder is a player whose position of play is midway between the attacking strikers and the defenders. Their main functions are to dispossess and keep possession of the ball, and to feed it to the strikers. However, some midfielders play a more defensive role, while others blur the boundaries between midfielders and strikers.

A midfielder's many responsibilities � to fetch the ball forward, to defend against or tackle the opposing team, to score or assist the strikers to score � make them amongst the most valued members of a team. In essence, a good midfield must possess the ability to be combative whilst also being creative. Most managers field at least one central midfielder with a marked task of breaking up opposition's attacks while the rest are more adept to creating goals or have equal responsibilities between attack and defense. At either side of the pitch a manager can field a winger, a specialist side midfielder used expressedly for attack.

Outstanding midfielders require a number of skills on top of fundamental ball skills and fitness. A modicum of skills�tackling, dribbling, shooting, distributing and passing�can all come in play at different points in the match. Because they occupy what is the most influential parts of the pitch, midfielders are perhaps more likely to influence the outcome of a match than most, especially through their vision for a good pass or ability to score. A good striker without midfield support would lack attacking chances, while a defence likewise would be severely tested.

Midfielders typically exhaust the most energy during a match due to the distance they cover on a pitch, as at times they can be called back into defense or required to attack with the strikers.

A defensive midfielder or a holding midfielder is a central midfielder who is stationed in front of the back Defenders for defensive reasons, thus "holding back" the freedom of the opponents to attack. This specialist midfielder's responsibilities are to defend against or tackle the opposing team, to recover the ball for their own team, and to safely distribute it to more attacking-minded players.

Not only does the player protect his team's defence, he also gives his fellow midfielders a "license" to parade their more attacking flair without the worry of defensive work. For this reason, the holding midfielder may be one of the most important positions in football, as it allows the rest of the team to play a more aggressive game.

The defensive midfielder position is also referred to in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese as "volante" (Spanish & Portuguese for "Rudder" or someone who gives direction), and in Portugal as a "trinco" (meaning "lock"). Eric Cantona once referred to Didier Deschamps as "the water carrier". This was originally intended as a derogatory term but is now an accepted alternative to "holding midfielder" in the UK. Most Brazilian teams deploy at least one "volante" in their team, this includes the Brazilian national team who over the years have fielded some of the most famous defensive midfielders such as 1994 World Cup winning team captain Dunga. The position is sometimes overlooked but it is a very important position in the modern game. It is a highly specialized position only executed successfully by very few talented players.

Perhaps the most typical case of a defensive midfielder is Claude Makelele. For both club (Chelsea, Real Madrid) and country (France), he plays right in front of the back four breaking up attacking movements. His tough yet accurate tackling skills and his decisive passing decisions have more than made up his weaker attacking abilities. When he played for Real Madrid, the modus operandi had been "Makelele wins the ball and passes it to Zidane." A similar partnership is established in Chelsea when he plays with Frank Lampard.


The primary job of a defensive midfielder is to dispossess any opposing team's player with the ball primarily in midfield. This is a crucial aspect of the modern game since this minimises the risk of an attacking move developing into a real threat. Usually, the holding midfielder does not move much into his attacking half. Defensive midfielder must be very aggressive and constantly marshalling the opposing team's attacking players. The player must also be able to be very physical without being scared of getting injured. Most defensive holding players are the team's "hardmen".

The secondary role of a defensive midfield player is to initiate the attacking movement after he has won the ball. A good defensive midfielder not only is able to win the ball, but also can make a decisive pass in order to initiate an attacking sequence.

Players inaccurately termed defensive midfielders

Some have incorrectly pointed out Manchester United legend Roy Keane to be a defensive midfielder. This is improper. However, in the later half of his career, he did change his style of play to be more defensive and become the team's "bodyguard"; in effect protecting the attacking moves and making sure that the team is not caught off-guard in case of an opposition counter-attack. While he may have great tackling abilities, he is more of a box-to-box midfielder. Some other players confused to be defensive midfielders are Steven Gerrard, and Michael Essien. All are great players a with wide range of skills but are not specialists in the defensive mould.

Central midfielders play several roles on the field of play, depending on their particular strengths and weaknesses and the tactics of the team. They are the link between defence and attack, and must also defend when the opposition are in possession. Their central position enables them to have an all-round view of the match, and as most of the action takes place in and around their area of the pitch, midfielders often exert the greatest degree of control over how a match is played. They must be equally skilled at tackling, passing and keeping possession.

An attacking midfielder is often confused with a center midfielder. Kak� and Frank Lampard are examples of center midfielders, as are Michael Ballack and Steven Gerrard. Both are capable of playing from "box to box" and as the norm rather than the exception, use their strength, their passing ability, and their workrate to affect their team's gameplay. This section of the field is often known as a team's "engine room", because rarely have great teams succeeded without skillful, commanding center midfielders. Another good example of a hard-working central midfielder is Gennaro Gattuso.

Every "10", the tip of the diamond, needs someone who can provide short passes to let them begin their work. Attacking midfielders, "playmakers" are known for their deft touch, their ability to shoot from range, and their passing prowess on top of their vision. Oftentimes, a team is constructed as to allow their attacking midfielder to roam free about and create as the situation demands. FC Barcelona has 2 versatile center midfielders in Xavi and Deco who can tackle and create in support of Ronaldinho, so that he may open up scoring chances for Gudjohnsen, Eto'o, or Giuly, draw fouls/penalties, or take chances for himself when it opens up.

An attacking midfielder is a central midfielder who is stationed in an advance midfield position, usually behind the strikers. He is typically the offensive pivot of the team, sometimes known in football as "playing in the hole", although this term can also be used to describe a deep-lying centre forward. This specialist midfielder's main role is to create goal-scoring opportunities for his own team via his superior vision and skill. The attacking midfielder is an influential position and requires the player to possess superior technical abilities in terms of passing and most importantly the ability to 'read' the opposing defence in order to deliver a defence-splitting pass for the strikers. Pele, considered by many fans to be the greatest football player who ever lived, enjoyed great success as an attacking midfielder; on example is his play in leading Brazil to the title in the 1970 World Cup. Juan Roman Riquelme and Ronaldinho are attacking midfielders widely considered to be two of the best players in the world currently in that role. Other just as accomplished attacking midfields include: Paul Scholes, Figo, and Zidane.

A winger is a wide midfielder who is stationed in a wide midfield position near the touchlines. Wingers used to be classified as forwards in traditional W-shaped formations, but as tactics evolved through the last 30 years wingers have dropped to deeper field positions. Modern wingers are now usually classified as part of the midfield, usually in 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 formations. It is a winger's duty to beat opposing fullbacks and to deliver cut-backs or crosses from wide positions. They are usually some of the most technically gifted players in the team and usually have very good dribbling skills as well as a fair amount of pace. Traditionally wingers are not expected to track back and defend. However, most modern wingers do defend and track back to repossess the ball, although their primary function lies in attack.

Wingers used to be highly prized in the older times, but their importance has dwindled through the years. In the 1966 World Cup for example, England manager Alf Ramsey led a team without natural wingers to championship. The team was known as the "Wingless Wonders".

In the modern game, some wide midfielders replace the role of wingers, whose contributions include providing defensive cover for fullbacks. One good example is David Beckham, who played in the position of right wing during his days at Manchester United, but is not commonly regarded as a winger since he functions primarily as a right midfielder and does not use either speed or dribbling ability to support play. Other good example is Luis Figo. Arguably one of the greatest wingers of all time, he also had the uniqe ability of being able to swap which wing he played on throughout the match.

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What is the job of a midfielder in soccer?

It is to be a defender and a offender

What positions do pro soccer players play in a game?

Typical positions are: Goalkeeper, Full Back (right or left) Centre Back, Sweeper, Wing Back (right or left), Defensive Midfielder, Central Midfielder, Attacking Midfielder, Winger (right or left), Left Midfielder, Right Midfielder, Support Striker, Striker

What are the position is soccer?

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What are the different positions in a soccer team?

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What position does Andrey Arshavin play?

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What is the job of an attacking midfielder?

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