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Scouting the Modern Defensive Midfielder in football

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Tactical Analysis: Is scouting the Modern Defensive Midfielder (lone 6 or single pivot 6) a new might in modern football?

This is a short tactical view on the modern defensive midfielder and how it has been evolving lately.

If u look at the careers of Rodri (Rodrigo Hernández)  and Fabinho Tavares pre Manchester City and Liverpool respectively: They are both tall, technically excellent players who are;

  • Risk averse
  • Press resistant
  • Wide angled passing wise
  • Filled in at CB (Fabinho also at RB) down to the to scanning and intercept , not chasing the ball.


This is also a commonality with Declan Rice (West Ham) and Aurélien Tchouameni (Monaco). Both are long legged, tall midfielders who;

  • Play at wide radius due to either, being double footed or nimble
  • Press resistant
  • Risk averse
  • Rice played CB before midfield.

I wonder whether this is the the trend to look for when scouting for Single pivot 6’s that Fabinho and Rodri have become at Liverpool and Man City respectively.

Both Aurélien Tchouameni and Declan Rice are considered the most promising potential lone 6’s and all have those key traits akin to Fabinho and Rodri. These traits are historically prevalent too. Busquets and Carrick were both brilliant pivot players…


  • Press resistance,
  • Long legs and intercepting tendencies
  • Elite technique and 2 good feet (which meant they could operate at wide passing angles)
  • Wide radius
  • Filled in at CB in their formative careers.

If I were to scout for single 6 players opposed to the aforementioned obvious 2, those are the traits I’d go for.

  • Are they press resistant.
  • Are they screeners (data wise -> high volume interceptors and *relatively* lower volume tacklers (suggesting more tendency to screen).
  • Are they risk averse (I mean they don’t force it forward constantly like Joshua Kimmich for instance),
  • Can they operate at wide angles -> something which holds Matic back from ever being viable at the top teams anymore IMO as against high pressers being one footed and not nimble is problematics.

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