BEST FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022 DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS
BRIEF PROFILES ON SOME OF THE BEST YOUNG DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS IN FM22
We cover youth football and we love Football Manager. We’ve combined both to compile a list of the young defensive 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 DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS PLAY IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 22?
Defensive midfield is one of the most flexible positions in the game, with a total of eight different roles to chose from. And each role brings something different. From a Deep Lying Playmaker to a classic Defensive Midfielder, to the tempo-setting Half Back, and the ball-carrying Roaming Playmaker.
The role you select your defensive midfielder to play will likely be dependent on the quality of players at your disposal. Poorer teams are more likely to run a Defensive Midfielder, Anchor or Ball Winning Midfielder. These roles require varying levels of technical ability, but physical and mental attributes are the most important for fulfilling their duty.
Defensive Midfielders are great for marking opposition attacking midfielders or central midfielders on attack role that look to break lines and attack the box. Anchors will sit deep and shield the defence while recycling possession with very simple passes. 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.
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The Half Back is the ‘in-between’ role between the defensive and creative roles you can select. The Half Back will sit almost as a third centre-back at times but is looked upon to set the tempo of the game more than an Anchor, and therefore requires a good passing attribute. The role generally fits best in possession-based systems.
The last four roles are more creative in nature; Regista, Deep Lying Playmaker, Roaming Playmaker and the little used Segundo Volante. 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.
The Regista role is an even more aggressive version of the Deep Lying Playmaker that will look to play a huge number of creative passes into your attacking players.
WHAT ATTRIBUTES ARE IMPORTANT FOR DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS IN FM22?
Unlike some other positions like centre-back, there isn’t really a set of core attributes that every defensive 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.
Apart from that, Ball Winning Midfielders will require marking, strength, and pace. Anchors need marking and strength as well, but also composure and decision-making. Defensive Midfielders will also need marking and strength, as well as passing and first touch as they try to work the ball further up field. The Half Back will need all this, plus the positioning and jumping reach you’d commonly associate with a centre-back.
For the more creative roles, good passing, vision, technique and off the ball movement are crucial. The Regista role will also require good dribbling, long shots and flair: think prime Andrea Pirlo. 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.
The Segundo Volante needs attributes similar to the Roaming Playmaker, but subtract dribbling, technique and agility, and add finishing, strength and tackling.
WATCH: 5 YOUNG PLAYERS YOU SHOULD BUY IN FM22
DATE OF BIRTH
€11M – €33M
Everyone loves Ismaël Bennacer. The Milan midfielder is 23 and entering his peak at the start of your save, and brings all the qualities required to play a range of roles in either defensive or central midfield, due to his mix of ball winning and, ball carrying and ball playing qualities.
He is a superb player to act as the fulcrum to revolve your team around. Good first touch and technique stats help him to retain possession, while excellent passing and decision-making help him to progress play effectively.
He is a great mid-priced option at around €20-€25 million to secure his services from Milan, with the quality to go straight into a Champions League level team and have an impact from the start. He may come at an even cheaper price, too, as he enters the last two years of his contract.
DATE OF BIRTH
€7M – €21M
Nico González has proven to be a useful squad player for Barcelona this season. While he starts FM22 saves as a weaker option than a Rovella or Bennacer, Nico is one to keep an eye on by shortlisting him and scouting him regularly.
With a contract that expires in 2024, keep an eye out for a potential bargain as he approaches the end of it. By then, he will be approaching peak age and should have developed enough to be able to contribute strongly for teams fighting for European places.
Naturally, he brings with him strong technical foundations through his development at Barcelona, though as he has proven in real life, he is also a nagging defensive player and that is borne out in strong tackling and determination attributes in Football Manager 2022. His player traits are also perfect for a deep-lying passer.
DATE OF BIRTH
€11M – €33M
Owned by Juventus and on loan at Genoa playing regularly in Serie A, you would expect Nicolo Rovella to be a difficult player to sign. But if you are patient enough to wait until the end of the first season of your save, he can generally be acquired for a pretty reasonable fee in the region of €25 million.
Rovella looks like an excellent midfield controller that makes up for having average physical qualities with excellent technical and mental attributes. Above all else, the holy trinity of stats for a deep-lying playmaker – first touch, passing and technique – are all very strong parts of Rovella’s game.
Just 19 when you start your save, and 20 by the time he will arrive at your club, he is certainly a European level player from the jump and will only continue to improve.
DATE OF BIRTH
€26M – €79M
If you are looking for a proper ball winner in midfield, it’s worth your time to take a look at Unai Vencedor. The key issue here is a €53 million release clause that Athletic Club are unlikely to budge on.
But if you require an anchoring defensive midfielder that can also fill in as a centre-back, he is a strong option, even if he is not the best value. His high level physical attributes, determination and work rate would make him a great shield for you defence in FM22. You also have a clean slate to define the details of his game too, by developing some player traits that will really enhance his ability at the base of midfield.
Your best bet is trying to make him unsettled and hoping he hands in a transfer request, though this is notoriously difficult, especially if you are not managing a mega club.
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 DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?
As with most positions, a good defensive midfielder hinges significantly on your team’s playstyle and tactics. You want a defensive midfielder that suits your team, one that’s capable of fulfilling the role in hand.
A possesssion-based team will want a passer that can organise play from deeper positions, whereas a counter-attacking team will want a ball-winner that can launch attacks as well. As with most things in Football Manager, and football in general, context is key.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST DEFENSIVE 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 DEFENSIVE 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.
Casemiro and Sergio Busquets, at Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, are two of them. There’s also Rodri at Manchester City and Fabinho at Liverpool, both of whom are high-level players in their roles.
Aurélien Tchouaméni is one of them, although he could be classed better as a central midfielder. Ismaël Bennacer is one of them as well; he combines the ball-winning and ball-playing parts of the role really well.