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Football News: Top 10 Defensive/Holding Midfielders

Top 10 Defensive/Holding Midfielders
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Top 10 Defensive/Holding Midfielders


10. Kalvin Phillips - Leeds United

I know he is in the Championship, but he has stood out like a sore thumb as having the qualities that could make a top class player at the top level. He can be rash when trying to win the ball back and lacks a little in mobility, but his range of passing is outstanding.


9. Luka Milivojevic - Crystal Palace

The main difference between him and Phillips is the level he plays at, but like Phillips he lacks mobility. His main strengths are set piece delivery, which is excellent, and his aerial ability, particularly when defending set pieces. He does not have the same level of passing as Phillips.


8. Jefferson Lerma - Bournemouth

Lerma has made a significant difference to the Cherries' defensive record, as they finally get some protection from midfield. One thing he does not lack for is mobility, it is a key part of his game and he can get around the midfield extremely quickly to snuff out danger. He does tend to pick up too many bookings though and leaves him suspended a couple of times a season at least.


7. Sandro Tonali - Brescia

The Italian youngster is gaining a big reputation and is starting to become a top class midfielder. It is hard to see Brescia keeping hold of him for much longer with Juventus, among others, sniffing around him.


6. Marcelo Brozovic - Inter Milan

Brozovic has been key to Inter's title challenge, despite being a little on the small side. If you wanted a bruiser to out muscle opposition players, he is not going to do that, though he very rarely gets bullied. It is more about his quality on the ball that makes him so good.


5. Declan Rice - West Ham United

Sometimes it feels like he is being limited by his role as a defensive midfielder, Rice can do more than he is able to show. When the chance comes to drive forward, Rice shows flashes of brilliance, but most of the time he is relying on his excellent reading of the game to put himself into position. Rather than being one of those players who is throwing himself into last-ditch challenges and chasing his tail, Rice is about picking off the ball and being in place early, to negate his slight lack of mobility.


4. Fabinho - Liverpool

While his ability to break up play is excellent, especially the way he can reach his long legs in and sneak the ball away, his real quality is his passing. Fabinho has the almost perfect combination of defending and playmaking but he needs to maintain his form over a longer period to move further up the list.


3. Saul Niguez - Atletico Madrid

Saul is an exceptional player and would probably be at the top if he was not often used in other roles. Whatever position he is used in, he excels. A truly brilliant player.


2. Thomas Partey - Atletico Madrid

Partey has the mobility and skill to be a fantastic player. Right now he has finally begun to prove himself as an indispensable part of Atleti's defensive strength. However, the way they play does make it a lot easier for him to break up play and protect the backline. That is why it is that he is dropped to number 2.


1. Wilfred Ndidi - Leicester City

Playing in a more limited, and slightly deeper, role than his great predecessor N'Golo Kante, Ndidi has been an exceptional replacement. Not quite at the same level as Kante, but he has a less demanding role. Ndidi's mobility and workrate is not as high as Kante's but his deeper role allows him to concentrate on being in the right place. It is no coincidence that the Foxes have been doing so well this season with Ndidi in place and that their form dipped while he was out.

Written by Tris Burke March 23 2020 11:41:06


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