The box-to-box midfielder is one of the most important positions in the modern game. The ability to go from defense to attack has become a very precious skill in the modern-day footballer.

What is the role of a box to box midfielder?

The role of a box to box midfielder is to be take active part in attack and defense. They move from their own penalty box to defend, and go the opponents box to create goalscoring opportunities. Box to box midfielders are hard-working, and must possess excellent all-round abilities in defense and attack. They can carry the ball forward or make runs into the 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 5 of the current best box to box Midfielders in football right now.

1. Franck Kessié – AC Milan

Franck Kessié

The Ivorian midfielder is arguably one of the best box to box midfielders in world. His work rate, hard tackling, energy and attacking flair has propelled AC Milan as title challengers in the Serie A this season. The 24-year-old central midfielder has scored 7 goals and provided one assist so far this season. He has often played as box to box midfielder under Stefano Pioli this season. He drives forward into the opponents box in search of a goal, and also helps out defensively.

2. Saul Niguez – Athletico Madrid

Saul Niguez

The former Spanish international is a crucial player in Athletico Madrid. The 27-year-old has helped maintain the defensive stubbornness of La Roja by providing a solid shield in front of his back 4. Apart from his tactical astuteness and defensive nous Saul is also quite effective in attack. The Athletico Madrid Midfielder also gets his fair share of goals. Proving his worth as an invaluable member in Diego Simeone’s set up.

3. Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich

Top Wingbacks in football

Originally starting out as a right-back, the German international has gradually grown into one of the best box-to-box midfielders currently in the game. Reputed for his typical German discipline, the 25-year-old has been an assured presence shielding the Bayern Munich defense. Apart from executing his defensive duties, Joshua has also been an attacking force for the Bavarian giants. His seven goals and 17 assists across all competitions were invaluable as Bayern claimed a hattrick of titles last season. The German defensive midfielder has continued his good form this campaign. He has scored 4 goals and provided 13 assists across all competitions so far this season. Joshua Kimmich is also one of the best midfielders in the world, although he is underrated.

4. Carlos Henrique Casimiro – Real Madrid


Casemiro, as he is popularly called, has grown into a lynchpin in midfield for Spanish giants Real Madrid. The Los Blancos defensive midfielder has been a big influence in the middle of the park for Real. The 28-year-old has added an eye for goal to his defensive discipline and astuteness. Last season the Brazilian scored 6 goals across all competitions. This year he has already equaled his goal tally from last season and seems set to improve on his form as the season rolls on.

5. Ilkay Gundogan – Manchester City

Best box to box midfielder

The Manchester City midfielder has been in fine form since last year. Blessed with the ability to play in all positions across the middle of the park. The 30-year-old has mostly been deployed in defensive midfield by City Coach Pep Guardiola. This, however, hasn’t stopped Gundogan from being a threat in attack. This season IIkay has already netted 11 times across all competitions, with much of the season still to be played.

Honourable Mentions:

  • Frenkie De Jong – Barcelona
  • Tomas Soucek – West Ham United
  • Weston McKennie – Juventus
  • Declan Rice – West Ham United
  • Benjamin André – Lille


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