BEST FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022 CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS

BRIEF PROFILES ON SOME OF THE BEST YOUNG CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS IN FM22

We cover youth football and we love Football Manager. We’ve combined both to compile a list of the young central midfielders that you should start scouting on your FM22 saves. These aren’t necessarrily “best”, but they’re interesting prospects for clubs across the spectrum of football. They’re players that we like in real-life that look good in FM22.

WHAT ROLES CAN CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS PLAY IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 22?

Alongside defensive midfield and striker, central midfield has the biggest variety of roles: eight. Seven of these roles can be split into three categories: defensive (Ball Winning Midfielder, Carrilero), playmaking (Deep Lying Playmaker, Advanced Playmaker, Roaming Playmaker), and attacking (Mezzala, Central Midfielder). And the outlier is, of course, Box to Box Midfielder.

Let’s get it out of the way early and explain why Central Midfielder is in our ‘attacking’ category. Simply, it is because Central Midfielder on attack is one of the most popular and overpowered roles in the game, with midfielders capable of playing it in the right system being able to score a huge number of goals, rendering the role with the support duty a bit of a moot point.

Likewise, the Mezzala is also a very popular role in FM22, with some even opting to play the ‘double-Mezzala’ in a three-man midfield. The Mezzala will look to move into the channels and out wide, look to be influential in the way the team plays in the final third, and suit a more up-tempo, high-pressing system that will allow them to commit to positions further up the pitch than other roles.

In terms of playmaking roles, the Deep Lying Playmaker is a popular pick for many coaches, with the role combining decent defensive solidity with playmaking from deep, while you can toggle how aggressive they are on both sides of the ball by toggling the Defend and Support duty.

A Roaming Playmaker is the ball carrying equivalent of the Deep Lying Playmaker. They’ll look to carry the ball up the field and when they get the opportunity, they’ll camp at the edge of the box looking to influence play in the final third with a shot or a killer ball.

The Advanced Playmaker is a more attacking option. They will look to sit between the opponent’s lines of defence and midfield looking to receive and then spark attacks with their creativity.

And then there are the defensive roles. First there is the Carrilero; a shuttling midfield that likes to operate across the breadth of the midfield looking to combine defence and attack in that way, rather than trying to be aggressive with their positioning.

The Ball Winning Midfielder is more aggressive, especially on the support duty, where they will look for opportunities to press and win the ball back higher up the field.

WHAT ATTRIBUTES ARE IMPORTANT FOR CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS IN FM22?

Unlike some other positions like centre-back, there isn’t really a set of core attributes that every central midfield role requires. However, if your player has a strong foundation of passing, tackling, work rate, stamina, positioning and decision-making, then they should suit most roles.

For the more creative roles, good passing, vision, technique and off the ball movement are crucial. The Roaming Playmaker will also need dribbling and long shots, but will also be aided by pace and acceleration that will help them carry the ball through midfield with speed. The Deep Lying Playmaker is probably the most simple: give them the ball, and make sure they can control it with a good first touch, and ensure they have the decision-making skills to best propel your team forward.

Advanced Playmakers will need good dribbling and agility to negotiate traffic in the final third, as well as some flair to pull off the best creative moves to break down defences.

In terms of the more defensive roles, Ball Winning Midfielders will require marking, strength, and pace. Carrileros need to be a bit more expansive, so they will need good vision, off the ball movement and technique alongside that tackling.

For the attacking roles, you will be looking for good finishing, work rate (to track back after surging into the box), as well as speed, off the ball movement, composure and decision making. The Mezzala will stay a little deeper in attack, but will defend a little bit higher than a Central Midfielder on attack duty, so long shots and flair become important for your Mezzala, while tackling and teamwork are still important for Central Midfielders.

The Box to Box Midfielder role is probably the most all-encompassing in terms of how many attributes are required to play it. Work rate, strength, stamina, pace, acceleration, positioning, work rate, teamwork, decision-making, aggression, composure, technique, passing, tackling, first touch, long shots, dribbling, finishing… you name it, a Box to Box Midfielder needs to be able to do it.

WATCH: 5 YOUNG PLAYERS YOU SHOULD BUY IN FM22

LAST UPDATED: APRIL 4, 2022

SAMUELE RICCI

Torino's Samuele Ricci

DATE OF BIRTH

21/08/2001 (19)

POSITIONS

CM, DM

CLUB

Torino FC

NATIONALITY

Italy

VALUE

€22M – €65M

Samuele Ricci's FM22 attributes

Samuele Ricci’s loan to Torino is a disaster for Football Manager players, making one of the best young central midfielders in the game unavailable to buy in the early part of your save.

Nonetheless, it is impossible to leave him out of this list given the quality player he will develop into, and given the fact that you should be able to eventually extract him out of Torino once they most likely take up their €8.5 million option to buy on the Italian youngster.

Ricci has everything required to be a midfield general for your side all the way up to a Champions League level, combining decent physical attributes (and height) with a swathe of excellent mental and technical attributes – passing in particular.

OIHAN SANCET

Athletic Club's Oihan Sancet

DATE OF BIRTH

25/04/2000 (21)

POSITIONS

CM, AM

CLUB

Athletic Club

NATIONALITY

Spain

VALUE

€15M – €45M

Oihan Sancet's FM22 attributes

A €30 million clause makes Oihan Sancet a tantalising option to recruit to bolster your midfield stocks early in your save. The talented Athletic Club midfielder is a fantastic creator in FM22, combining vision, passing, and decision-making to conduct play from the centre of the field.

While probably not ready to carry the burden of being a regular starter, Sancet can be a solid squad player as you bide your time and wait for him to develop into a top-class midfield player.

His 1.88m frame makes him unique for a creative midfielder as well, helping to give him a pretty strong strength attribute that should aid him as he hustles through traffic in midfield.

AURÉLIEN TCHOUAMÉNI

AS Monaco's Aurélien Tchouaméni

DATE OF BIRTH

27/01/2000 (21)

POSITIONS

CM, DM

CLUB

AS Monaco

NATIONALITY

France

VALUE

€51M – €153M

Aurélien Tchouaméni's FM22 attributes

If you have a lot of money and want to splash the cash on one of the best midfield destroyers in FM22, then AS Monaco’s Aurélien Tchouaméni is a great option for you.

While you should not expect to spend any less than €100 million, what you get in return is a ball-winning machine that uses his 1.87m frame, and top line physical and defensive attributes to break up play and win possession for your team.

However, it may be worth waiting until closer to the end of Tchouameni’s contract that expires in 2024 and seeing if you can grab a bargain on the Frenchman.

VITINHA

FC Porto's Vitinha

DATE OF BIRTH

13/02/2000 (21)

POSITIONS

CM, AM

CLUB

FC Porto

NATIONALITY

Portugal

VALUE

€16.5M – €49M

Vitinha's FM22 attributes

While it will set you back around €30 million to sign Vitinha from FC Porto, you will be landing yourself one of the premium young advanced playmakers in Football Manager 2022.

With a surprisingly well-rounded set of mental attributes headlined by a high vision stat, his passing, technique, dribbling and first touch attributes also underline his potential to be a high level midfield creator for your team, even at a Champions League level.

With room to grow on top of what is already a very well-developed skillset, that €30 million will look like a shrewd investment in one of Portugal’s most intriguing midfield prospects.

WHAT ARE FOOTBALL MANAGER WONDERKIDS?

Wonderkid is a cliché term that’s synonymous with Football Manager. They’re young prospects – usually aged 16 to 18 – that have elite-level potential in the game. Freddy Adu is a prominent example for older managers, while Youssoufa Moukoko is a current case. They’re the superstar youngsters that are must-buys on every save.

But it’s also subjective. A wonderkid at Accrington Stanley is completely different to a wonderkid at Manchester City. Essentially, the surroundings dictate the status.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD CENTRAL MIDFIELDER IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?

A good central midfielder will depend on what role you want him to fulfill. If you want a box-to-box presence in midfield, you will need a player with a rounded skillset – ideally with a strong balance between attacking and defensive skills, as well as high ratings for stamina.

Conversely, if you want a more specialist player (be it a ball-winner or playmaker), then you need a certain skillset comprising of certain qualities and traits.

HOW TO FIND THE BEST CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?

You can do so by utilising the player search tool, which enables you to specify the certain variables you’re looking for in your player – from age to specific attributes.

Make the most of your scouts, too. Send them to scout nations (rather than regions/contintents) for the best young centre-backs by defining their criteria – specifying under-23, four-start potential, etc. Alternatively, just scour the Scouted Football website!

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUNG CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?

As always, pathways are paramount. You have to make sure that your youngsters have access to meaningful minutes at the appropriate levels. If you have a first-team ready talent, phase him into the team gradually, during pre-season ideally.

If your prospect needs a bit more polishing, the loan system is a valuable tool. But pathways to senior level minutes are key. Assess your youngsters on a case-by-case basis, decide what they need, and enact your decision.

WHERE CAN I BUY FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?

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The Premier League trio of Kevin de Bruyne, Thiago Alcântara and N’Golo Kanté are. Real Madrid’s Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos and Casemiro are three of the most highly-rated central midfielders also.

In terms of current and potential ability, Jude Bellingham and Eduardo Camavinga are the best young central midfielders in FM22. Both have the upside to develop into two of the greatest players in the world. At their worst, they will be elite-level players.