The role of the midfielder has become more specific, but years ago it used to be an all round game, attacking and defending similarly, while putting in a huge physical effort.
These midfielders were expected to score more goals, helping out the team with their attacking output.
Some of the very best, players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, and Paul Scholes, would regularly hit 10-15 goals a season. Lampard even became Chelsea’s highest goal scorer in history, from central midfield!
But now, it seems to be that most of the goals are scored from midfielders who have an attacking role, rather than central midfielders.
So today, we’re taking a look at scoring more goals from midfield, discussing how you can do just that, adding more goals and an attacking threat to your game.
Firstly, though, it is important that you know your role within the team. If your coach has asked you to be a holding midfielder, sitting deep and protecting the back four, then that is your primary role.
It’s important not to forget your part in the team. But if you are looking to score more goals from midfield, then there are a good few things you can do to increase your chances.
One thing that can be seen regularly, even at the top level, is that players in midfield seem to regularly play in front of the opposition. This is when the midfield don’t make any runs behind the opposition's midfield, which makes it easier for the opposition to mark and set up a defensive shape.
So, firstly, the key aspect for a midfielder is to make runs, off the ball, forward.
Making runs forward will put you in a position to overload the defence.
Doing this not only creates space for other midfielders in the team, but it also offers support for the striker, giving them someone to link play with. The other great benefit is that it is going to put you, as the midfielder, in a position closer to the goal.
These runs forward will get you in and around the penalty area, potentially giving you a through ball, or a chance to break into the box. Do this and you are going to make it hard for the opposition to track you, while also putting yourself in a great position to score more goals.
Another opportunity is to get in the box when the ball is in wide areas. Quite often midfielders will hang back when a wide player has the ball, however if it is out wide, you may have the opportunity to take a chance.
The more you get in the box to attack crosses, the more you’ll score.
When the full back, or winger, has the ball then look to move into the penalty area. The more you do this through the season, the more chances you’ll have to score goals. Eventually the ball will fall to you and then you need to take your chance.
What is important though is that you realise when to move into the area, and when to hold back. If you feel like there is a danger of a counter-attack from the opposition, then hold off and sit deeper, but if you have the space and the opportunity is there, go for it.
Get in the box when the ball is in wide areas and you will eventually score more goals.
It will pay off during the course of a season.
Our final area is quite simple really: Just being comfortable in taking on shots from the edge of the area. What is great about this is that these opportunities can come up quite regularly, and they are also very easy to practise.
Take a few balls up to the local pitch and practise striking the ball on your laces. Aim for technique first and then develop the power. Hit the ball cleanly and you are going to be a real danger to the opposition.
But it’s important that you do this at the right time. Don’t just wildly strike from distance, get your head up and see those around you. If there’s a teammate in a better position then use them but make sure you are aware when striking from distance.
As a midfielder you will see the game almost open up for you; drive forward in to the space, and then take advantage with your technique from range. Scoring goals from midfield is helpful to every team, at every single level.
If you can become a midfielder who is a goal threat, then you are going to bring great success to the team. But to do that you must put the effort in off the ball. It is very rare that the ball will just fall to you in the perfect spot.
Work hard off the ball, get into the penalty area and then take advantage of your opportunities.
Just remember, if you don’t score, you’ve got to get back in to position quickly!
So keep working hard and make opportunities happen with your movement off the ball.