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How to use Box To Box Midfielder in Football Manager

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Explore how to master the box-to-box midfielder in Football Manager for a dynamic and balanced midfield.
How to use Box To Box Midfielder in Football Manager

Maximizing Your Midfield's Impact in Football Manager with the Versatile Box-to-Box Role


Football Manager players often have favourite roles for certain positions. Some players swear by a Target Forward, others never build a tactic without a Deep-lying Playmaker. However, in midfield, one of the most common roles in Football Manager is the box-to-box midfielder. Despite being so commonly used, it’s an often misunderstood role, and many managers aren’t getting the most out of their box-to-box players. The point of this article is to highlight the strengths of box-to-box midfielders, and how to make the most of these strengths in your tactics.

Definition of BBM


First, let’s look at how SI define the role:

Box to Box Midfielder

At first, this reads a little generic. It’s hard to pigeon-hole the box-to-box midfielder into a few individual tasks to complete. But that’s his main strength: the box-to-box midfielder will cover every blade of grass in pursuit of his team’s needs. When your side attacks, he’ll be in the final third supporting the attack. When you defend, he’ll be in the midst of the midfield battle. He’ll contribute to every phase of play, and - as you’ll see by the above picture - he has very little specific instruction by default; so he’ll have the freedom to contribute in whatever way your side needs from him.

Because of this, the box-to-box midfielder is only available on support duty; and he more or less embodies the support duty. He won’t be the star of the show, but he will contribute to the entire game. The main benefit of this is he’ll be present no matter what phase of play. This prevents you from becoming outnumbered while defending, and gives you an extra man in attack.

Because of this built-in versatility, I find the box-to-box midfielder is one of the few roles that shouldn’t really be tinkered with. His all-round play is his greatest strength, so adding any extra playing instructions to his remit can hamper that general contribution. If you try to make him more specific in his role, you’ll lose something of his contributions elsewhere on the pitch - especially instructions that involve committing him to one phase of play over another, such as get further forward or stay wider. To do so forces him to commit to that position, rather than allowing him the freedom to roam wherever he’s needed. That said, no harm comes from asking him to cross more or shoot more often, as these instructions don’t require a positional commitment.

READ ALSO: 4 Team Instructions You're Using WRONG in Football Manager

Key Attributes for BBM


Key Attributes of Box to Box Midfielder Football Manager

Sports Interactive highlights a grand total of 20 attributes for a box-to-box midfielder. Which is a lot - but again, points to the necessary versatility of the BBM. While it depends what tactic you’re playing with as to what will be important to your specific save, you’ll generally need stamina, work rate and positioning for all tactics and philosophies. This ensures he has the physical ability, the understanding and the desire to cover the entire pitch and contribute to the whole game. Attributes such as first touch and passing would help if you’re trying to create a possession-based passing tactic; tackling and aggression for gegenpressing; pace and acceleration for a counter-attacking style. This blank slate of a role means that you’ll require a player who embodies everything you’re looking to achieve with your tactic.

  

What tactics does he fit?


Again, the primary benefit of the box-to-box midfielder is how well he can fit into any tactic or philosophy, it realistically depends on the player more than the tactic. However, when it comes to partner roles, it’s worth considering how these can change the interpretation of the role. For example, a box-to-box and carrilero combination in midfield would provide plenty of support all over the pitch, but would lack penetration. You’d need to ensure that roles in other areas of the pitch are breaking lines and creating.

For example, a box-to-box midfielder paired with a mezzala can be a deadly midfield. While the mezzala would have the dribbling and the attacking instincts to penetrate the opposition defence; the box to box would make supporting runs, keeping up with the play to provide a passing option, and ensuring he can trigger the press quickly if the mezzala loses possession. Similarly, he’ll provide a lot of the hard running and defensive work that could be missing from a playmaker role. This would free up the playmaker to seek spaces, knowing his defensive duties are covered by his midfield partner.

LEARN MORE: Mastering Football Manager - eBook

Conclusion


The box to box midfielder role is an incredibly versatile role in Football Manager. No matter what style of football you like your sides to play, the BBM will be able to contribute all over the pitch. With a properly balanced midfield, a BBM can be a fantastic tool to ensuring the overall stability of your side in all phases of play.

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FM Blog | FM24: How to use Box To Box Midfielder in Football Manager
How to use Box To Box Midfielder in Football Manager
Explore how to master the box-to-box midfielder in Football Manager for a dynamic and balanced midfield.
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