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7 Best Box-to-Box Midfielders in 2022

Nicolò Barella
(Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

The box-to-box midfielder is one of the most important positions in football. The ability to go from defense to attack has become a very precious skill in the modern-day footballer. In this article, we will look at the role of a box-to-box midfielder in football, and you will also find out the best box-to-box midfielders in the world 2022.

What is the role of a box-to-box midfielder?

The role of a box-to-box midfielder is to take an active part in attack and defense. They move from their own penalty box to defend and go to the opponents box to create goalscoring opportunities.

Box-to-box midfielders are hardworking and must possess excellent all-round abilities in defense and attack.

They can carry the ball forward or make runs into the opponents’opponents’ box to try and score.

They have to also be able to track back to defend down to their own box, make crucial tackles, interceptions and block threatening shots.

Here are 7 of the current best box-to-box Midfielders in football right now.

1. Frenkie De Jong (Barcelona)

Frenkie De Jong
(Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Since he burst out into the football scene, Frenkie De Jong has been one of the top box-to-box midfielders in the world.

The Dutchman is known as a midfielder, but his style is so versatile he can play in any position between the defence and midfield.

De Jong is strong, possessive with the ball, and can dribble out of tight positions. He also can perform as a playmaker and reads the game well. Since 2019, De Jong has made over 180 appearances for Barcelona.

2. N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea)

N'Golo Kanté best box-to-box midfielders
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Tireless, relentless, and full of energy, N’Golo Kanté is a player whose work rate sent Leicester City to their unprecedented Premier League title in 2016.

Since then, he has not looked back, moving to Chelsea, where he has been ever-present.

Kanté is strong on the ball, even though not the fastest. The Frenchman is a ball carrier that can run the length of the pitch severally in 90 minutes.

He is undoubtedly one of the best box-to-box midfielders in football, and among the best defensive midfielders in the world.

He’s won the UEFA Champions League and Premier League as well as the UEFA Nations League and the FIFA World Cup with France.

3. Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

Ilkay Gundogan best box-to-box midfielders
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Ilkay Gundogan is one of the few midfielders you will also find among the top scorer’s chart.

The German international is a technically gifted, tireless, and intelligent midfielder with a knack for scoring.

He is capable of making runs into the box and finishing off chances. In the 2021/22 Premier League season, Gundogan scored 8 goals and assisted 4. He already has 2 goals and one assist in the 2022/23 EPL campaign.

Gundogan played a huge part in Manchester City’s four League titles in the last five seasons.

The City skippers packs energy to dominate the midfield and can score goals aplenty. He’s played in almost every position in the midfield as a holding midfielder and has also played as a central midfielder and on the wide side of the midfield.

4. Luka Modrić (Real Madrid)

Luka Modric best midfielders in the world 2022
(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Luka Modrić’s efficiency and longevity are a testament to his quality as a midfielder. The Croatian is one of the best midfielders in the world.

The accolades tell the story, five UEFA Champions League in the heart of a Real Madrid midfield trio that will go down as one the best in the club’s history.

Modrić’s goalscoring ability is also phenomenal, which makes him a versatile part of any team. He has made over 297 appearances for Real Madrid since 2012.

Modric is still one of the best box-to-box midfielders in 2022 because of his ability to link play so effectively. He possesses superior technical ability and dribbling skills.

5. Nicolò Barella (Inter Milan)

Nicolò Barella
(Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

Nicolò Barella is known for his box-to-box stride on the pitch and breaks down plays with his agility and strength on the ball.

He is an aggressive, combative, and hardworking midfielder who covers every inch of the football pitch.

Barella also gets in on the action up front, starting counterattacks dictating the play. He has won the Italian Seria A with Inter Milan and the UEFA Nations League with the Italian national team.

In the 2021/22 Serie A season, Nicolò Barella scored 3 goals and provided 12 assists from midfield.

6. Thiago Alcântara

Thiago Alcantara injury-prone players

Thiago Alcântara has been plagued with injuries since he moved to Liverpool, but towards the end of the 2021/22 season, he stayed injury-free and proved his worth.

The Spaniard has consistently been one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world. 

He is highly creative, technically gifted, and possesses excellent dribbling skills and ball control.

He is one of the best passers in football and is known for his accurate ball distribution rate. 

7. Gavi

Pablo Gavi
(Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Pablo Martín Páez Gavira, simply as Gavi, is one of best young midfielders in the world.

The 18-year-old showed his quality in 2022, where he established his place as a key member of the Spanish national team and Barcelona squad.

Although Gavi is a terrific interior in midfield, he excels in the box-to-box role.

The Spaniard is an amazing dribbler, passer, and tackler. His anticipation, intelligence, vision, close control, change of pace, work rate and ability to close down opponents makes him one of the top box-to-box midfielders in the world.

In June 2022, Gavi scored his first senior goal for Spain, and became the youngest player to ever score representing Spain at senior level.

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