What is an attacking midfielder in soccer?
An attacking midfielder is a player who plays on both the offensive end and defensive end of the pitch but specializes in offensive skills such as shooting, dribbling, and corner kicks. Read on to learn more about the attacking midfielder position in soccer.
Attacking Midfielder Roles and Responsibilities
An attacking midfielder is a midfielder whose primary purpose is to assist in the attack. Similar to a quarterback in American football, the attacking midfielder must read the defense and have excellent field vision to see plays and anticipate runs ahead of them.
While several midfielders may assist in an attacking play, this midfielder will spend most of the match attempting to pass and shoot on goal. The central attacking midfielder is usually gifted at set pieces and is often called upon to take direct or indirect free kicks and corner kicks.
Attacking midfielders also commonly function as their team’s playmakers. That means that they help read the other team’s formation and direct the ball so that their team can maximize scoring opportunities.
Attacking Midfielder Positioning
Attacking Midfielders generally sit in the area between the midfield and the offensive line. This is because they need to be able to drop back into the midfield if their team suddenly needs an early line of defense, but they also need to be able to strike forward when their team has the ball and they see an opening.
Attacking Midfielder Skills
Attacking midfielders should essentially have the basic skill sets of both a midfielder and a forward. This means they need the versatility to switch between offensive and defensive support, but they also need to be able to push the ball forward when they have an opening.
When their team needs an offensive boost, attacking midfielders need great ball-handling skills and a strong and accurate long-range shot. This way, they can evade defenders and midfielders from the opposing team while gearing for a long pass to a striker or a quick pass to a forward or fellow attacking midfielder.
Attacking Midfielder Jersey Numbers
While it is not a strict rule in domestic competitions, attacking midfielders have generally worn the number 10. However, on national teams, the attacking midfielder or another midfielder will wear the number 10.