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.

If you’re looking to buy FM 2022, use this link and the code ‘SCOUTEDFTBL’ for 10% off – and it gives us a little kickback too. You can find more in-depth player reports in the Scouted Football Handbook, our quarterly magazine.

WATCH: 5 YOUNG PLAYERS YOU SHOULD BUY IN FM22

LAST UPDATED: APRIL 4, 2022

ISMAËL BENNACER

AC Milan's Ismaël Bennacer

DATE OF BIRTH

01/12/1997 (23)

POSITIONS

DM, CM

CLUB

AC Milan

NATIONALITY

Algeria

VALUE

€11M – €33M

Ismaël Bennacer's FM22 attributes

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.

NICO GONZÁLEZ

FC Barcelona's Nico González

DATE OF BIRTH

03/01/2002 (19)

POSITIONS

DM, CM

CLUB

FC Barcelona

NATIONALITY

Spain

VALUE

€7M – €21M

Nico González's FM22 attributes

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.

NICOLÒ ROVELLA

Genoa's Nicolò Rovella

DATE OF BIRTH

04/12/2001 (22)

POSITIONS

DM, CM

CLUB

Genoa CFC

NATIONALITY

Italy

VALUE

€11M – €33M

Nicolò Rovella's FM22 attributes

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.

UNAI VENCEDOR

Athletic Club's Unai Vencedor

DATE OF BIRTH

15/11/2000 (20)

POSITIONS

DM, CM

CLUB

Athletic Club

NATIONALITY

Spain

VALUE

€26M – €79M

Unai Vencedor's FM22 attributes

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.

WHERE CAN I BUY FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022?

Want to buy Football Manager 2022? Visit our friends at 2game.com and use this link and the code ‘SCOUTEDFTBL’ for 10% off your purchase.

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.