How To Play Attacking Midfield

“A good midfielder has eyes in the back of his head, that’s the secret in a nutshell.”

Ernst Happel

Football being a team sport requires the involvement of every team member to field a solid team.

Generally, a team is made up of forwards, midfielders, defenders and a goalkeeper.

Sometimes these roles overlap and it is very important for the team/club manager to define the positions in which he expects his players to function.

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Who is an Attacking Midfield Player?

Midfielders are basically the playmakers of any team and they can either function in the offensive or defensive.

An attacking midfielder is therefore a midfielder who functions in the offensive.

The primary role of an attacking midfielder is to create goal scoring chances for the forwards (or act as a backup striker) they therefore have to possess a lot of technical skills like dribbling, accurate passing, deft touch etc.

The attacking midfield position is a very crucial one and must be occupied by a player who has proven his technical ability (or potential at least).

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Types of Attacking Midfield Players

There are fundamentally three types of attacking midfield players in football.

The style of play an attacking midfielder chooses to adopt will depend on his abilities and the formation of play.

  • The Advanced Playmaker, Specialist Midfielder or Central Attacking Midfielder serves as the backbone of the team’s offence. They generally possess superior dribbling and passing abilities and they are known to create good goal scoring chances.
  • The False Attacking Midfielder or Deep Lying Playmaker starts the game as an obvious attacking midfielder but as the match progresses they drop deeper into the midfield. False attacking midfielders are known for their vision, technique, pass accuracy and their ability to strike from a distance.
  • Box to box midfielders combine the roles of the attacking and defensive midfielders into one style of play. They are hard working players who can break up opponent play as well as they can create chances and score goals.

There are several different formations that a manager can decide to field depending on his players or tactics.

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Attacking Midfield Formations

Some of the formations that are heavily reliant on attacking midfielders include:

Soccer Formation 4-2-3-1

4-2-3-1 consists of:

  • four defenders,
  • two defensive midfielders,
  • one central attacking midfielder,
  • two wide-attacking midfielders
  • and a center forward.

In this formation, the attacking midfielders have to work hard to not only evade opposition defense but also create chances for the forward.

Soccer Formation 4-3-3
Soccer Formation 4-3-3

4-3-3 consists of:

  • four defenders,
  • three central midfielders,
  • two attacking midfielders playing wide
  • and a center forward.

The attacking midfielders play on either side of the striker using their pace and technical ability to evade opponents and make crosses for the striker (and central midfielders sometimes).

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Attacking Midfield Skills

To succeed as an attacking midfielder, a player has to be good with both feet, have a great first touch, possess superior dribbling, passing and crossing abilities as well as a clinical finish.

Once a player is able to master all of these skills, he is well on his way to becoming a very powerful attacking midfield player.

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Thanks for reading, what other skills do you think a player needs to be a successful Attacking Midfielder, let us know below.



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