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Five promising young defensive midfielders

The defensive midfielder – a vital role for any team given the task of covering ground, guarding the defense and cutting out attacks from the opposition team, let’s take a look at five promising young defensive midfielders for the future.

[warning: these are just 5 defensive midfielders who have a bright future, it does not mean they are the only defensive midfielders with a bright future nor is this in any order.]

Name: Oriol Romeu

Team: Chelsea

Age: 20

Romeu.

With competition for places between Busquets and Mascherano, there wasn’t much opportunity for Romeu to break into the Barcelona first team, and when the chance to go to Chelsea arose, he didn’t hesitate to move to the Bridge. Knowing that he was vastly talented, Barcelona included a clause where they would have the ‘right to first refusal’ on the player in case Chelsea decide to sell him before the end of the summer transfer window in 2013. It’s no coincidence that Chelsea have only lost two games out of the 22 that Romeu has featured in. His introduction to the side has provided Chelsea some much needed stability – his confidence in his making decisions, his ability to close down and pressurize opponents as well as his ability to release balls and passes swiftly while covering ground extensively have been one of the reasons why John Obi Mikel is on the bench. Also being able to operate as a central defender, Romeu  who has been dubbed as Chelsea’s answer to Claude Makelele certainly has a bright future.

Name: Casemiro

Team: São Paulo

Age: 20

Casemiro.

One of the hottest talents in Brazil, 20 year old and £10 million rated, Casemiro has been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Roma for a reason. Having starred in the Brazil U-20 squad which won the 2011 South America Youth Championship, Casemiro is now a key player for his club, Sao Paulo. The tall midfielder, nicknamed “the Beast”, is known for his technicality, strength and physical presence. As much as being a no-nonsense defensive midfielder, one of Casemiro’s strengths is that he can also play as an attacking midfielder which suits his great passing abilities and counter attacking instincts. It’ll only be a matter of time before Casemiro has joined one of Europe’s top clubs.

Name: Emmanuel Frimpong

Team: Arsenal

Age: 20

Frimpong.

A product of the Arsenal youth academy, Frimpong is your typical hard-tackling midfield general. With grit, aggression and a no-nonsense attitude, Frimpong has been a hit with the Emirates crowd with his performances on the field and is also seen as the successor to Arsenal legend, Patrick Vieira who also plays in a similar manner and style. Part of the Arsenal team that won the FA Youth Cup in 2009, a unique aspect of Frimpong is though he’s a defensive hard man, he has great passing abilities and tricks under his belt. However, he can lose his temper easily and slide in to make stupid challenges. He also has a tendency to listen to the crowd (for example, when they want him to shoot, he will when there are better options available) but he is still young and learning and will be a key cog in the Arsenal midfield machine in no time.

Name: Francis Coquelin

Team: Arsenal

Age: 20

Coquelin.

Plucked from the backwaters of France by Wenger, specifically Stade Lavallois, Coquelin joined Arsenal after impressing on a trial in 2008. Like Frimpong, Coquelin was also part of the Arsenal team which won the FA Youth Cup in 2009 while also being part of the France team that won the UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. Having experienced first team football with FC Lorient in the 2010-2011 season, Coquelin’s baptism of fire for Arsenal came against Manchester United this season. Though it was one of the heaviest defeats ever for Arsenal (8-2), Coquelin was the only positive from the game as he played as if he were a regular. The main strengths of Coquelin’s game are his technicality, vision, passing, pace and trickery. As the season progressed, he has also displayed his versatility by filling in at left-back as well as right-back which makes him a vital utility player and Wenger will be glad that this French starlet has put pen to paper on a new deal at Arsenal.

Name: Nampalys Mendy

Team: Monaco

Age: 19

Mendy.

A regular for Monaco at the age of just 19, Mendy is one of France’s brightest talents. Unlike most defensive midfielders, Mendy is very small in stature but his defensive play and distribution is simple as well as effective while he has a reliable style of play which has likened him to one of the legends of the game in Claude Makelele, being labelled as a ‘carbon copy’ of the former Chelsea man by Monaco club scout Didier Christophe. While Mendy may not get the deserved recognition as his side play in Ligue 2 of France, he is still destined for great things in the near future and would be vital for any top club.

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