A Central Attacking Midfielder (CAM) is that guy who operates between a team’s central midfield and its forwards. He is that spark in a team; the playmaker; the person that most defenders dread playing against because no matter how hard they try to shut him down, he inevitably finds a way to cause them problems. Known for their deft touch, vision, ability to shoot from range, and passing prowess, CAM’s are sought after by teams looking to play attractive, attacking football.
Although I initially fell in love with the game watching and trying my best to imitate David Beckham, I gradually shifted my play-style to what felt more natural to me: playing in a more central role in the attacking third rather than as a winger. This shift was mainly because of my desire to be more involved with the play. Also, I never could reliably get past my defender on the wing…but yea, that’s not important! So I looked to the greats for inspiration:
and many other such iconic CAM’s. What did they do different that I could pick up and practice on so that I could also excel as a CAM?
It became apparent. All of them were unbelievably calm on the ball even when under immense pressure from the opposing team. They usually had at least one trick up their sleeve that allowed them to create that extra yard needed to play that killer pass or to take that incisive shot at goal. They also had incredible vision, the ability to read the game; what weight and angle to put on a pass so that it wouldn’t be too difficult for the forward to get the ball under his control, and where they themselves needed to go to “be at the right place at the right time” to finish off a move. But the most important characteristic that I noticed in all these players was the fearlessness with which they played the game, never hesitating to try the improbable, the impossible even.
So there you have it fellas. If you want to be a better CAM, you need to work on your passing finesse, improve your shooting skills, learn a trick or two to help with foxing defenders, hone the ability to see a pass that to other players seems impossible and more importantly learn to play without fear. Not all your “brilliant” passes will come off but that shouldn’t deter you because after all, even the best don’t get it right all the time!
Disclaimer: I am not a professional footballer by any means, just a guy in his mid-twenties who has a passion for the beautiful game and has been playing it on a regular basis for around about 11 years. Oh, and a die-hard Manchester United fan to boot. So the following advice and tips to improve are based on my experience playing the game, watching professional footballers in the major football leagues and also observing players who I’ve played with and/or against, who I feel excel at their role. So feel free to take this advice with a grain of salt.
Images : Zimbio