The terms “holding midfielder” and “defensive midfielder” are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two.
A holding midfielder is a player who sits in front of the defense and protects the back line. Their main responsibilities are to break up attacks, win the ball back, and distribute it to the more attacking players. They are typically not as involved in the offense as other midfielders, but they can still play a key role in creating chances and moving the ball forward.
A defensive midfielder is also responsible for breaking up attacks, but they are more likely to do so by making tackles and interceptions. They are also more likely to be involved in the physical side of the game, and they may be asked to mark the opposition’s most dangerous players. Defensive midfielders typically have less passing ability than holding midfielders, but they are still important in building up play and controlling the tempo of the game.
Some of the best examples of holding midfielders include Sergio Busquets, Fernandinho, and Jorginho. Some of the best examples of defensive midfielders include N’Golo Kanté, Casemiro, and Fabinho.
Here is a table summarizing the key differences between holding midfielders and defensive midfielders:
|Feature||Holding midfielder||Defensive midfielder|
|Main responsibilities||Break up attacks, win the ball back, distribute it to the more attacking players||Break up attacks, make tackles and interceptions, mark the opposition’s most dangerous players|
|Passing ability||Better passing ability||Less passing ability|
|Involvement in the offense||Less involved||More involved|
|Physicality||Less physical||More physical|
Ultimately, the difference between a holding midfielder and a defensive midfielder is one of emphasis. Holding midfielders are more focused on protecting the defense and distributing the ball, while defensive midfielders are more focused on breaking up attacks and winning the ball back. However, there is a lot of overlap between the two roles, and some players can be classified as either a holding midfielder or a defensive midfielder depending on the team they play for and the tactics they use.