Men's Hockey World Cup 2018: 5 midfielders to watch out for

Manpreet Singh will be a key player for India in the World Cup
Manpreet Singh will be a key player for India in the World Cup

The playmakers who scan the pitch as they dribble forward, using peripheral vision as a tool to determine where to direct a pass, depending upon the positioning of the rival defence are the same ones who control traffic at the centre of the pitch by cutting off through-balls, making vital interceptions, and controlling the pace of the game by retaining possession when necessary.

The midfielders - often multiskilled campaigners, with an array of talents, comprise the backbone of the team.

Effective on-pitch communication skills are an absolute prerequisite to being an effective midfielder, and quite often the men in the role assume vital leadership positions in the set-up.

Veterans midfielders like Sardar Singh have bedazzled the hockey world with their repertoire of tricks in midfield while young prodigies like Vivek Sagar Prasad will, no doubt, leave their imprint as the years go by.

Neither Sardar nor young Vivek Sagar will be at Bhubaneswar but a host of other immensely gifted individuals will.

We take a look at five such midfielders who will be expected to play a key role for their respective sides at the World Cup.

#5 Barry Middleton (England)

England's Barry Middleton made his debut in 2003

With over 400 international appearances, for England and Great Britain, Barry Middleton is one of the most recognizable faces of English - and world hockey.

A four-time Olympian, the 34-year-old has marshaled the England midfield ever since 2003. A former skipper, Middleton will be playing his fourth World Cup at Bhubaneswar while for 13 of his teammates, it will be their first-ever World Cup appearance.

The English veteran has witnessed several modifications in the style and format of world hockey over the years but has always managed to stay abreast of the changes, and has expressed his admiration for yet another great midfielder - German stalwart, Mauritz Fuerste.

A midfielder who has the ability to make searing solo runs, Middleton will be a vital cog in Danny Kerry's set up as a youthful England squad will look to the legend to guide them through the pool stages against a formidable Australian - and, a resolute Irish side.

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Edited by Alan John
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