Football Manager – What makes a good defensive midfielder?

When it comes to selecting your central midfield pairing it is essential that you consider playing a holding player as well as an attack minded midfielder. Whether he plays as a defensive midfielder with a duty to protect the back four or just simply as a more disciplined central midfielder, you will need a midfield enforcer to help stem the flow of the opposition attacks.

5 Key Attributes


You’ll no doubt want your whole squad to be a determined bunch but it can be one of the most crucial attributes for a defensive midfielder in particular. The determination attribute refers to a player’s desire to succeed. The higher the rating the more they are absolutely committed to giving their all to the cause. It certainly pays to have a determined individual in that area of the pitch.


Passing is obviously not the most important weapon in a defensive midfielder’s armoury but it is a useful attribute for them to possess nonetheless. While the traditional role of a holding man is to just get the ball and give it to a perhaps more technically gifted player, some of the best defensive midfielders on FM have proved that they themselves know how to pick a pass.

Work Rate

In most cases, your holding midfielder won’t need to be a box-to-box type player but if they have good work rate they will undoubtedly be able to utilise the attribute through a never-say-die attitude on the pitch. A will to work will result in them never giving up the ghost even if, at times, they are beaten by their opposite number.


With a high tackling attribute, your defensive midfielder will be in his element when he is able to get stuck right into a challenge. After all, he is there to protect your back four and the better tackler he is, the more chance he will have of winning possession back for your team.


A player that can last the whole 90 minutes game after game is always a positive for you as the manager. When that player is your battling holding midfielder it becomes even more decisive. When the rest of your team may be struggling to find the legs to carry them over the finish line, rest assured that a defensive midfielder with high stamina will keep trudging around the pitch, harassing the opposition for possession.

For more detailed information on mental, technical and physical attributes, head over to the ‘FM Player Attributes’ post.

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