Favourite midfield trait: Intelligence or power?

RooneyLegend

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Didn’t watch the game last night. I’m not sure about the categorisation here, and Scholes is one of my favourite players, but performances like Keane in Turin turn me on more.

But players like Keane, Viera, Robson, Toure and Gerrard aren’t suited to today’s game. You don’t get the cut and thrust of teams slugging it out, that you did 20 years ago. Clearly players would adapt, but those players wouldn’t have the same impact in this day and age.
Yet Goretzka is a starting midfielder in the best side in the world...btw someone like Vieira could cut it in any era, he had great feet. No way Keane couldn't do Casemiro's role in the Madrid midfield, hed even do it better. They'd all fit in today's football, look at all the different types of midfielders prominent in today's game.
 

Tallis

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Modric is just insane - the mix of control and creativity. 35 years old and still dominating big games in CL.
 

#07

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Roy Keane will always be my go to midfielder.

Keane is often caricatured as a 'hard man' as if he was just a step up on Vinny Jones or some other clogger. A lot of people only remember late stage mid 2000s Keane, after he'd injured himself far too much to have the mobility of his early career. That colours what they think Keane was capable of.

Roy Keane was everything you want in midfield. The way he took up positions in offensive or defensive phases of play was pure intelligence. When I see people comparing certain players to Keane, because those players go charging about chasing the ball, I despair. As if Keane would ever lack the nous or discipline to leave huge gaps for opposition players to exploit?!

Keano lost duels in midfield. This is real-life not Roy of the Rovers and he played in the era of Edgar Davids and Fernando Redondo. Yes, Keane was 'done.' Yes there were many times that clever play forced him into a situation where he lost out and an opposition could exploit the gap. However, his starting position, reading of the game, understanding of the flow of play and sense of timing were such that his starting position was almost always where you'd need it to be in transitions. As a midfielder that was an invaluable trait.

I don't think I ever caught Keane stuck on the blindside of an opponent when his centre back needed an out ball, or worse hiding from the ball. I don't think I ever saw Keane go short out of timidity when the possibility of firing the ball forward was on. When I look at the basic positional mistakes this Man Utd midfield makes, or the ponderous way they use the ball or refuse to switch it, I can't believe the levels we've fallen. Keane may not have had Scholes' range but go back and watch his games and you'll him hit some lovely diagonals. Especially when Ryan Giggs was at full pelt. Back then we played so much through Beckham and it wouldn't have been possible without Keane looking to get the ball forward constantly, cos Becks was never blessed with amazing pace. Our midfield needed not just to have the guts to pass forward but to know when the chance was on to isolate Beckham in crossing space against a full-back. Keane's brain worked perfectly for that.

People also need to remember Keano was a goal threat. On so many occasions he was called not just to clean up messes but contribute to attacks. Everyone remembers Turin. For some reason, I always remember December 1995 against Newcastle. Becks has the ball on the left hand touchline and Keane makes a clever run to beat the Newcastle offside trap, Becks floats it to him perfectly. Keane takes it down with one touch and smashes it in. People who think Keane was just another centre back in midfield genuinely don't understand what the man was all about.

I have so many great memories of Keane. Although one of my favourites isn't even a Man Utd game. Its the Republic of Ireland vs Holland in the qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. If you ever wanna talk about a one man performance, where one midfielder literally was everywhere, that's the one.
 
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Yet Goretzka is a starting midfielder in the best side in the world...btw someone like Vieira could cut it in any era, he had great feet. No way Keane couldn't do Casemiro's role in the Madrid midfield, hed even do it better. They'd all fit in today's football, look at all the different types of midfielders prominent in today's game.
its all moot really, and it’s all hypothetical. I’m not saying they wouldn’t be able to play, just that they wouldn’t have the same impact as they did because the game has changed.
 

sullydnl

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Intelligence, easily.

It's one of the reasons I like Mata so much. He's so weak physically that he's basically all technique and intelligence, so I'm delighted whenever he does good things.
 

#07

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its all moot really, and it’s all hypothetical. I’m not saying they wouldn’t be able to play, just that they wouldn’t have the same impact as they did because the game has changed.
I don't think its changed that much.

Goretzka is a good example. Henderson is another. Liverpool's heavy metal football has gone to pot, partly through trying to replace dogs of war like Henderson and Fabinho was a much more gifted player in Thiago. You put a prime Edgar Davids or Pavel Nedved in Liverpool's midfield and they'd dominate. The box-to-box icons of the 1990s would thrive with the way the current era of football has moved away from tiki taka towards high pace, high pressing football.
 

Giggsy13

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You need a fine balance. I love the work of midfield geniuses like Scholes, Xavi, Modric etc but I look at the Milan midfield of the early 2000s as the perfect mix of power and genius. They had the genius orchestrator Pirlo mixed with the power and technical ability of Seedorf and Gattuso. They don’t get a lot of the praise of the Barca and Madrid midfields and it may be due to the unfortunate loss to the dippers in 2005.