Will we ever see a box-to-box midfielder like Keane, Vieira or Gerrard again?
In the age we live in are there any of hard-working industrial midfielders around? Having been brought up seeing the likes of Keane, Vieira and Gerrard boss the midfield, I feel now that I have been spoilt when it comes to seeing such influential players. Nowadays a player is set a certain role; either you’re a defensive midfielder or an attacking midfielder.
As a Manchester United fan, seeing Roy Keane's performance in Turin that faithful night still gives me goosebumps. Having been booked and knowing he would miss the final, he grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and put in a majestic performance. Going box-to-box, putting in great challenges and creating chances in the opposition’s area.
In my opinion these players are becoming extinct. Steven Gerrard is one of the last of this dying breed being able to combat from box-to-box and be a match winner. I’m not saying that the Claude Makeleles of this world aren’t great players, it's just that I'd like to see a Makelele or a Mikel pop up in the opposition box with a goal or two sometimes instead of getting a nosebleed when they cross the halfway line.
In the age of football we live in now, the box-to-box midfielder is becoming obsolete, as we see with Barcelona who have the two very talented midfield maestros and the comfortable on the ball Busquets. With more and more holding midfielders being brought through the ranks, such as M'Villa for France and Strootman from Holland, I think we will see more and more as the years go on.
As team formations evolve the more likely they are to use the 4-3-3 formation or 4-2-3-1, the same formation which set Manchester City in good position for the Premier League this year. Teams are forever evolving and I suppose I'd better start too.
I’m a very big fan of the Van Bommels of this world and by the look of it his international career may be over after being left out of his country's last game. Hopefully I’m wrong and he receives a call up again for the World Cup qualifiers as being a holding midfielder and not a box-to-box player I think he’s one of the best in the business. Hopefully a talented up-and-coming star from Europe becomes the box-to-box midfielder that I want to see, but I think it's only a dream.
Article by James Connolly
Calling all football fans: Do you agree with James? Are the robust, high energy performances of the Keanes, Vieiras and Gerrards now a thing of the past? Are there any players out there who you believe are still living the dream in the heart of midfield? Will football evolve again to incorporate midfielders who can defend and attack in equal measures? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.