Why Tottenham And Leicester Have Proved The Importance Of This Overlooked Role

There is an old saying that strikers win you games, but defences win you titles. This is exactly the kind of stuff that makes you think twice about the requirement of having a strong willed team in case anyone wants to win the league.

There have been calls for some managers to try and sign that one piece of the jigsaw which can solve their problems. We aren’t talking about that world class striker or defender, but instead of the much maligned position that is called as the central defensive midfielder.

Why is this role so important in this day and age of football? Well, it is the central midfielder who not only acts as a shield for the central defense, but also controls the game and also dictates the attack. We have seen how certain clubs struggle when they do not have the right central midfielder, Liverpool and Arsenal do come to mind when they missed out on players such as Emre Can and Francis Coquelin for months due to injury.

Another club that seemed to thrive when they got their correct midfielder in was Tottenham. Eric Dier started his time this season as a central defender, but when he moved to the so called number 6 position in midfield, not only did Tottenham get a player who can cover the difference, but Dier become one of the best in that role and now seems to be a sure shot starter for Roy Hodgson’s England side in the summer.

Manchester City are another club who spent a wad load of cash on signing Fernando and Fernandinho and even though it is Yaya Toure who gets more of the accolades and praise, it is because of one of the former players who actually allow the Ivorian the freedom to do the damage to the opposition.

Leicester City also have done something similar but with Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kante have been a breath of fresh air for the Premier League. The duo don’t necessarily always attack, but they know what they need to do and with their incredible understanding both players have been incredible in this role all season.

Every side needs a Harry Kane or a Vincent Kompany to help their side get those goals or keep clean sheets, but someone who does a lot of the dirty work but does not get the credit is the central midfielder. Chelsea had Nemanja Matic, Liverpool had Javier Mascherano, Arsenal had Patrick Vieira and Leicester now have N’Golo Kante. The role of the central midfielder has changed a lot and the defensive midfielder is now the most important player in a side.

Written by Kevin Harrison

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