For anyone who doesn't know their midfield playmaker from their midfield dynamo, here's our take on it...
Also known as: box-to-box midfielders, Carilleros
Traditional Shirt Numbers: usually no.4, sometimes no.8
Great examples of Midfield Dynamos: Lothar Matthaus, Bryan Robson, Steven Gerrard.
A great midfield dynamo can be a fantastic asset to a football team, given the energy, power, commitment and drive that they bring to their side.
A top midfield dynamo will have great stamina and work-rate, spending almost the entire match on the move from box-to-box. One minute they'll be helping the defence and attempting to win the ball, and then in the next instance they'll be driving forward to help out in the attack.
As well as carrying the ball well, a midfield dynamo will do a lot of unseen work off the ball, working back and forward to help keep the shape of the team.
Given the all-round nature of their game, a midfield dynamo is obviously expected to be able to tackle and pass well, whilst a top-class one will also chip in with their fair share of goals. This is another area that some midfielders excel in. If you look at the likes of Frank Lampard, the way he times his running off the ball, and his surges into the box to get into decent goal scoring positions and supplement the attack, was nothing short of phenomenal. Hence Lampard's incredible goal-scoring rate.
The midfield dynamo will often make good captains as they drive their team forward, and their non-stop, high-energy style is often loved by the team's fans.
The 1980's and 1990's were great eras for midfield dynamos and box-to-box midfielders, but the increased popularity of two holding midfielders in the 2000's saw them disappearing from many of the top teams as there was no real place for them in their manager's tactics.
Also known as: midfield schemer, midfield general, quarterback (apologies, we hate the phrase too), Regista, Meia-Armador
Traditional Shirt Numbers: 8
Great examples of Midfield Playmakers: Juan Roman Riquelme, Zinedine Zidane, Michel Platini, Gunther Netzer, Andrea Pirlo, Bernd Schuster, Liam Brady, Safet Susic, Glenn Hoddle, Toni Kroos, Andres Iniesta, Johny Haynes, Dragan Stojkovic, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana, Kaka, Ricardo Bochini, Wolfgang Overath, Socrates, Gianni Rivera, Giancarlo Antognioni, Rui Costa, John Sheridan, .
The term 'Playmaker' has been used quite generally in recent years to describe almost any midfielders who can link the play between midfield and attack. However, there's a difference between the traditional playmaker and an attacking midfielder in our eyes.
The difference between the traditional playmaker and an attacking midfielder is that the playmaker will tend to hold their position more, and they won't be too concerned about getting into goal scoring positions themselves. Instead they'll look to direct the play with their passing and setup chances for team-mates. Attacking midfielders will also look to link play with their forwards but they're also very eager to dart into the box themselves in an attempt to get into advanced goal-scoring positions.
A playmaker will normally operate from one of two positions - deep or slightly advanced.
A deep lying playmaker will sit just behind the rest of the team's midfielders, taking the ball off the defenders or from the other midfielders and dictating play to all areas of the pitch. A great example of a deep lying playmaker is Andrea Pirlo.
The more advanced playmaker will sit just in front of the main line of the midfield and look to link play with the strikers or wingers. A great example of an advanced playmaker is Juan Roman Riquelme.
The main attributes of a playmaker is obviously accurate passing (both short and long) and great vision to allow them to pick out a pass or a through ball that other players wouldn't normally see. Given the great accuracy of their passing, a playmaker will often make a fantastic dead-ball specialist with their free kicks, and will also look to score long-range goals from outside the penalty box. The great playmakers often have a trick up their sleeves to get themselves out of tight situations so that they can then release their passes again.
Playmakers aren't normally expected to be rushing around making lots of challenges (if they can tackle then that should be considered something of a bonus!) as the donkey work is often left to a couple of their midfield colleagues. Some critics consider them a luxury, because of this very reason, as they aren't seen to be doing the same work-rate as their team-mates, whilst other managers will try to build a team around them. These managers know that the top-class playmakers will tend to set the tempo for the rest of their team, so if the playmaker is on his game then you can bet the rest of the team will often be functioning as well.
Also known as: right winger, left winger
Traditional Shirt Numbers: 7 (right winger), 11 (left winger)
Great examples of Wingers: George Best, Garrincha, Sir Stanley Matthew, Sir Tom Finney, Chris Waddle, Jairzinho, Jimmy Johnstone, Dragan Dzajic, Ryan Giggs, Francisco Gento
We're distinguishing between wingers and wide midfielders in our list of positions, as there's a definite difference between the two and how their roles are used within different tactics. So we're talking about traditional line-hugging wingers here, players who stayed out wide and then dribbled and tricked their way past half the opposition before creating a chance on-a-plate for a team-mate. Surely there's no finer sight in football than a great winger in full flow ? Apart from a tap-in by a Goalhanger, obviously.
The 2010's has seen a rise in the popularity of inverted wingers, which is basically a right footer playing on the left-side and a left footer playing on the right-side, meaning both can cut inside onto their stronger foot. Of course, it's not just a completely modern fad - Chris Waddle was left footed but was mesmeric for Spurs, Marseille and Sheffield Wednesday out on the right wing in the 1980s and 1990s. The Goalhanger is old-skool though, and likes to see lefties on the left wing.