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FIFA 23 Best Defensive Midfielders

Profiles on some of the best defensive midfielders you can sign on FIFA 23 Career Mode

We cover youth football. For all you FIFA players, we’ve picked out a few of our favourite young defensive midfielders that would be suitable signings on your FIFA 23 Career Mode saves. From Sandro Tonali to Roméo Lavia, these are some of the best young CDMs in the game.

If you’re looking for older players, we have you sorted too, with a collection of the ten highest overall defensive midfielders at the start of your save. If you want more DMs to sign, browse our website.

How do I develop defensive midfielders in FIFA 23 Career mode?

There are a few key methods to develop defensive midfielders in FIFA 23. Firstly, they need to play senior minutes and get good match ratings in matches. Obviously, this needs to be balanced with your need to win games but getting them on the field as much as possible is vital.

If you can’t give them minutes, then consider sending them on loan. However, when loaning players, ensure that you are sending them to a club where they will play senior minutes, or you risk further stunting their growth.

Next, focus on doing well in training drills and earning good ratings. Generally, you should be able to play through each drill a few times, do them well, and then you should be able to subsequently simulate the sessions and earn a similar grade. However, if your grades start to fall, you should take control of your drills again to boost your ratings back up.

Lastly, and very importantly, is your player development plan. Development plans determine what kind of skillset you want your player to develop for their role in your team.

FIFA 23 Career Defensive Midfielder Development Path

For defensive midfielders, there are five development paths to choose from:

Balanced – The all-round option that will see your defensive midfielders develop all their attributes with no real particular focus.

Deep Lying Playmaker – The deep-lying playmaker development plan will seek to turn your defensive midfielder into a player that can control the tempo of the game from deep. They will improve upon their vision, long passing, short passing, composure, ball control, dribbling, standing tackling, stamina, and their skill moves.

Anchor Man – An anchor man will look to shield the defensive line, defending aggressively in transition, using their speed and stamina to break up play. Training under this development plan, your defensive midfielder will improve their sprint speed, acceleration, stamina, slide tackling, interceptions, ball control, weak foot, reactions, agility, and short passing.

Ball Winning Midfielder – A ball-winning midfielder will look to master the art of all things defensive. This development plan focusses on the defensive and physical side of the game, improving upon a player’s defensive work rate, reactions, interceptions, heading accuracy, defensive awareness, standing tackle, jumping, stamina, strength, and aggression.

Defensive Midfield – The defensive midfield role is quite similar to the ball-winning midfielder role, except that it puts more focus on developing the speed of a player. It swaps out heading accuracy and jumping for sprint speed and acceleration, to make your player less of a threat in the air, but quicker across the ground.

Who are the best defensive midfielders in FIFA 23 Career mode?

N'Golo Kanté31Chelsea8989
Joshua Kimmich27Bayern Munich8990
Casemiro30Manchester United8989
Rodri26Manchester City8789
Marcelo Brozović29Inter Milan8686
Sergio Busquets34FC Barcelona8585
Sandro Tonali22A.C. Milan8490
Franck Kessié25FC Barcelona8486
Declan Rice23West Ham8487

We’ve split this section into three defensive midfielders that can start for your teams straight away, and three defensive midfielders that are good options for the future:

Sandro Tonali

AC Milan's Sandro Tonali

Sandro Tonali has one of the most rounded set of stats you will see from any midfielder in FIFA 23. With just nine points separating his worst attribute (shooting, 73) and his best (physicals, 82) he profiles as an excellent box-to-box player that can snuff out opposition attacks and then kick start his own.

With the potential to develop into a 90 overall player, Tonali is a no-brainer option as a commanding defensive-minded midfielder. His high defensive work-rate is an added bonus for that anchoring role.

Declan Rice

Declan Rice is a more defensive version of Tonali, trading off some speed and shooting for defensive and physical attributes. At 6’1” and with strong physicals, he will be a brute shielding your back four.

He can grow into an 87 rated player too, meaning there is a little bit of wiggle room to develop. You can also probably get away with using him as a centre-back given his qualities as a defensive player.

Boubacar Kamara

Boubacar Kamara is quite similar to Declan Rice, and like the Englishman, he too has spent some time in his career playing as a centre-back. He has decent pace, but like Rice gives up some shooting to be more solid on the defensive end.

He has potential to develop into an 86 rated player, meaning he should be able to become a solid Champions League level starter capable of playing both as a defensive midfield anchor or as a centre-back.

Samuele Ricci

Samuele Ricci ,

If you are looking for a versatile midfield talent, Samuele Ricci is a great option. Since stepping up from Serie B into Serie A in 2021/22, the Italian has earned a good move from Empoli to Torino and established himself as one of Italy’s prime midfield talents.

He has a nice blend of speed, physicality, passing, dribbling and defending for a 74 rated player, and if you can max him out to his potential of 85, he would be useful in a role as both a number six or number eight at a good level.

Eric Martel

A more classic defensive anchor than Ricci is Eric Martel, who is now a first team regular for 1. FC Köln in the Bundesliga. However, unlike Ricci he is probably not senior-ready, so yuo should look to farm him out on loan.

His physical and defensive qualities will hold him in good stead for when he returns to your club, hopefully having developed somewhere close to that maximum 84 overall potential he can reach.

Roméo Lavia

It’s frankly criminal that EA has only given Roméo Lavia a 62 overall, given what we’ve seen from him first at youth, and now Premier League level. Alas, we will have to be content with the fact he can improve his overall rating by a massive 21 points to reach 83.

However, given his stats, he will be one you should look to farm out on loan because he does not have the attributes to immediately be a contributor at a good senior level, contrary to what we’ve seen in real life.

N’Golo Kanté, Joshua Kimmich, Casemiro, Rodri and Fabinho are the highest-rated CDMs in FIFA 23 Career Mode.

Sandro Tonali is one of the best young CDMs in FIFA 23 Career Mode; he has the potential to become one of the very best. Eric Martel is a bit of a hidden gem as well.

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