After almost a decade of watching football, playing FIFA and PES on computers, fanfaring, being a supporter and most importantly experiencing and playing the beautiful game – I have zeroed in on a playing position for scrutiny, the central defensive midfield. It is otherwise known as the defensive midfield or the holding midfield.
This position is usually held by the box to box players or the players who can make a team tick – the engine room of a football team. They are usually played in front of the two centre backs, combining roles of providing cover to the defence, playing the role of a supplier and once in a while, making in runs to score goals as well.
In my first appearence at a University football match, I was thrown in the deep end and asked to play DM by our college team coach. I was ABSOLUTELY clueless and I still have no idea what I did that day. I ran about the ground in the remaining 10 – 15 minutes of the match and almost grabbed an equaliser, but for the goal keeper’s finger tips. The coach did not have to make a decision, I needed to work on my game and fitness.
I always wondered why he asked me to play DM when there already were good players playing in the position. Coming to think of it now, the footballing life has come a full circle. I am beginning to enjoy the game so much now that I have a feeling that this position defines me, in different ways. After playing in a number of positions, donning different roles and responsibilities, I am beginning to get a better idea of the position.
In the last year, the constant training sessions and the fact that the onus of building teams fell on my mates and I has helped me understand the importance of different positions and the kind of role the players who take up that position get to play. Now how does one build a team and in turn a game?
The primary criteria surely has to be a desire to play and enjoy the game. This desire translates to more and more practice and training sessions. The more you play, the more you learn and improve your technique and endurance. This has to carry on for months, and years. I can now recount that it has been exactly ten years since I first fell in love with the game.
The next step upwards has to be match practice. The earliest of matches will be more butterflies than otherwise. A good, nice touch of the ball is itself a rarity. Things will happen very quickly on the field, though these amateur local tournaments might look below par from a spectators perspective.
The player’s perspective starts to change for the better when you start stringing together passes between the team and then keeping possession of it for longer and longer periods of time; they are signs of a team that is on the rise. There develops a rhythm to the game, something that is very important for a strong team.
To get back to the role of a box to box player. S/he has to be someone who thinks of the well being of the team first and foremost. To run from one end of the pitch to the other on an attack and get back to defend requires immense grit and determination. What describes the perfect CDM is control and stability. The player controls midfield, providing much needed calm during times of pressure and supplies the ball to the man who is free. To intercept, control and supply, describes the role of a CDM in short.
On any of the forays up the pitch, if there is even a whiff of a chance the defending midfielder is known to unleash a long ranger, which more often than not is a skyer. On a good day you might hit the bar or the post. But of course, every holding midfielder has his day…
What a stunner! Absolutely mind boggling goal by Paul Scholes! Toni Kroooooss! Kante takes his chance, YESSS! Paul Pogba glides across two defenders there and GOOOAAAALLL! Xavi to Iniesta and back, goodness me, what a goal! Alessandro Pirlo curls it, and it sneaks iiiin, what a PLAYYA!