I wish to develop a protocol to regulate the way we acquire defensive midfielders. If I were managing at a higher level, that might prove a complex task. The roles in which a defensive midfielder can play are quite diverse. A ball-winner differs markedly from a half-back, who in turn is very different from a regista.
But at this level – the Moldovan Divizia Nationala – I suspect that our players in that position are going to be playing as a plain vanilla defensive midfielder (a role I have a lot of time for) or a ball-winner.
I doubt there are many in the country who can play as a regista or even spell it.
This makes the design of the protocol quite straightforward. I want someone who can get in the right position and then win the ball.
I would also value those attributes that make them abler or more willing to shuttle around the park in order to get into the desired position. So quickness, stamina, determination (something I wish to be a hallmark of my team and so required in every position), work rate, and even teamwork are, if not essential, certainly desirable.
So too, though less so, are jumping reach and heading, so they can challenge for balls punted upfield by the opposition and even play a role in set pieces.
Finally, I don’t want them to be completely hopeless on the ball. They don’t need to be able to curve visionary 40-yard passes into space, but their touch and their passing need not to be awful.
No point winning possession if you just give it straight back.
I suspect, though, that it’s going to come down to (a) tackling, (b) positioning, and (c) determination.