U18 – Midfielders
Identifying what is needed in a U18 midfielder is probably one if the hardest jobs as a coach. The centre midfield position is the only position on the pitch where you play against a player in the same position as you.
In the late nineties and early noughties it was the age of power. Viera, Keane, Davids and even Zinedane was powerful. Then came the ball rotates of Iniesta, Xavi and Scholes. The quarter backs of Schewistieger and Pirlo has been followed by the more dynamic Pogba and Sanches.
What is clear is that the Head Coach has to be adamant on the personal of his midfield as this will dictate much of how his team plays.
The Young Player
What do you do? What is your identity as a player? The problem thats developing in young players and in the eye of some coaches is that players are becoming mini clones of Barcelona players. Iniesta and Xavi of this world are great players but its too easy to suggest that they just get it and give it. They pass forward!!!
This leads me to my point of identity. A player has to be able to impact the game positively and as a midfielder this is that positions responsibility. Midfielders need to know when to pass forwards and have the quality to deliver it. The best players do this. They might keep the ball but can you pass forward and push the opposition back with penetrative passing and cut open defensive lines. Alongside this you need to be able know when to be able to make these passes and get a feel of the game. This takes time and its interesting to see how top class midfielders seem to get better with age.
The examples are out there and watching all these midfielders on TV will only help develop your game.