We all love a Jude Bellingham, Frenkie De Jong, or Moises Caicedo in our team who’ll be a constant presence in both boxes, sharing equal offensive and defensive responsibilities.
They are what you may call— a Box to Box midfielder, a non-stop midfield workhorse who contributes greatly in both defending and attacking.
Box to Box midfielders look to support the forwards, surging late into the box to get on the end of crosses and pullbacks while also providing threats from distance.
In defense, he drops back to protect the back line, disrupting the opposition’s link-up play.
What Makes A Good Box To Box Midfielder
A Box to Box midfielder is the only role in FM that requires a player to be good at so many things.
They need a good balance of physical, and technical attributes, and they must be able to make intelligent decisions on the pitch.
The player has to cover a lot of ground in their constant transitions from attack to defense. Constantly running up and down the pitch demands tremendous levels of stamina and pace, which is a must for any BBM.
A BBM has to be physically dominant, while also technically sound to excel in the game. He must have the ability to muscle the ball off the opposition before driving forward with the ball.
In offense, the Box to Box midfielder will arrive late in the box, sneaking past the defensive marking to take a hit on goal.
But if the opportunity is handed to him, he must be well capable of finding the back of the net from a long distance.
Unlike a Mezzala role in FM, the BBM covers a lot more defensive duties. The role is only available on Support duty in Football Manager.
How To Use Box to Box Midfielder in Football Manager 24
The Box to Box midfielder can be incorporated in various tactical setups.
As the role requires adequate support from fellow midfielders, there are different approaches to using the BBM in a two, and three-man midfield formation.
The Box to Box midfield should be paired with a more reserved central midfielder to cover for him in a two-man central midfield.
The following roles should be paired up with a BBM in a two-man midfield:
- Deep Lying Playmaker
- Ball-winning Midfielder
- Central Midfielder(Defend duty)
In a two-man midfield, you should avoid other advanced midfield roles alongside the Box to box midfielder as they won’t be covering for the player defensively, leaving the team vulnerable against counterattacks.
But there’s a clever way to work around that.
If you want both of your midfielders to join the attack, I’d suggest playing a 3-man defense at the back with an Inverted winger or fullback to support the midfield. It’ll give your team better protection against sudden counterattacks.
Three Man Midfield
In a three-man midfield, the Box to Box midfielder receives more support to get forward and make an impact in advanced positions.
An anchor or halfback is usually stationed to cover for the player against counterattacks. This allows the BBM the luxury to become a bit more adventurous in the final third. You can instruct him to ‘Get Further Forward’ to make frequent appearances in the opponent’s box to overcrowd the area.
Playing a supporting midfield role alongside him up front, preferably a playmaker, helps out the Box to Box midfielder. Or you can opt to play a Ball-winning midfielder to win the ball in the opposition half to facilitate a quick counterattack.
The following roles should be paired with a BBM in a three-man midfield diamond:
- Deep Lying Playmaker
- Center Midfielder(Support)
- Ball Winning Midfielder
Attributes of a Box to Box Midfielder in Football Manager
Box to Box midfielders are fully fleshed-out players of the game. They are the Swiss-army knife of every team must possess to give them that extra edge in both offense and defense.
That also means the role requires players to possess well-rounded attributes.
According to Football Manager, here are the key attributes of a Box to Box Midfielder:
- First Touch
- Long Shots
- Off the Ball
- Work Rate
Other than the key attributes, a top Box to Box midfielder must also have the following attributes in FM 24:
These attributes are complementary to a Box to Box midfielder’s offensive and defensive willingness to give his best on the pitch.
Responsibilities of a Box to Box Midfielder
Sharing his responsibilities in both defense and offense, here’s how a Box to Box midfielder operates in different phases of a team’s play.
This is when the Box to Box midfielder starts hitting his accelerator, charging forward to support the attack.
With the ball, he’ll be carrying it through the midfield as far as he can before dispatching a progressive pass. If capable, the player will try killer balls himself to find the forwards in dangerous positions.
In case the player is not comfortable carrying the ball, the BBM will quickly hand the ball to a fellow teammate and pace towards the final third.
Final Third Play
In the final third, the Box to Box midfielder will arrive late in the box to have a go at crosses and pullbacks.
He’ll also look to have a go with long shots if an opportunity arises from outside the box.
A BBM is not expected to be the main creator of the team. So he’ll mostly act as a helping hand for teammates by creating space for them.
The first instinct of a Box to Box midfielder will be to press the opponent immediately after losing the possession. He’ll also help his teammates to close down opponents in their half, increasing the chance of winning the ball.
If the initial press fails, he’ll fall back in the defensive line to defend.
A BBM carries out standard defensive duties.
Depending on his instruction, a BBM can act as a BWM in defense. For that, you’ll have to instruct him to tackle harder and press aggressively.
Or else, he’ll carry out standard defensive measures to maintain a defensive position and will look to intercept passes.
Box to Box Midfielder: Player Instructions
The Box to Box midfielder is a highly flexible role, allowing you to customize how you want your player to operate in your tactical setup.
Every aspect from pressing, width, movement, shooting, tackling, passing directness, and risks can be tweaked to get the most out of a BBM’s game.
Here are the default individual instructions for a Box to Box midfielder in Football Manager:
|Freedom of Movement
|Roam From Position
Depending on your team tactics, you can either play the BBM as an offensive outlet or prefer him in a more supporting role. He can be your side’s primary creator or a goalscoring option!
Recommended Player Traits for a Box to Box Midfielder
To get the most out of your Box to Box midfielder, you’ll need to instill particular traits in him. These traits will make the player instinctively good in certain circumstances, making his moves more natural and effective in those situations.
Here are some traits to train your Box to Box midfielder in Football Manager:
Arrives Late in Opponent’s Area
With this trait, your player will look to time his run a little later into the box than the other advanced players during a crossing situation.
This helps him exploit the space just in front of the defensive line, giving the crosser an open option.
Late runs inside the box are a particularly difficult move to mark. That also makes it highly effective as the striker keeps the center-backs occupied, leaving him with unchallenged space.
Runs with Ball Through Centre
A BBM should be able to carry the ball forward through the middle, launching a devastating counter.
With this trait, the player in question will dribble more with the ball and carry it through the central areas of the pitch. A good dribbler can use this trait to devastating effect, launching a counter all on his own and carrying the ball to the final third.
It’s a highly effective movement trait for a midfielder who can beat the initial press and pierce through the opponent’s midfield.
Gets Forward Whenever Possible
As mentioned before, if you have a defensive midfield role providing ample cover for your BBM, you can allow the player to get forward without worrying about defensive duties.
The ‘Get Forward Whenever Possible’ trait increases a player’s tendency to get forward in the final third when the team has possession. It helps him to overcrowd the opposition box, increasing attacking threats.
Although it can be a great trait to have as a Box to Box midfielder, I’d highly recommend avoiding this trait if you’re playing the role in a two-man midfield player.
Comes Deep to Get Ball
Teamwork is an important element in a BBM’s game. And as a primary ball-carrying outlet of the team, the player needs to receive the ball from a teammate playing deep.
The ‘Comes Deep to Get Ball’ trait increases the player’s frequency of dropping behind the line to pick up possession.
Get into Opposition Area
If your Box to Box Midfielder is one of your team’s biggest goalscoring options, then this trait can help.
The ‘Get into Opposition Area’ trait increases the tendency of a player to make runs from a deeper position into the opponent’s penalty area.
For that, the player must possess good finishing, off the ball movement, anticipation, composure, and decisions.
Shoots From Distance
Lastly, you want your Box to Box midfielder to be able to convert chances from outside the box. For that, he needs good Long Shots.
The ‘Shoots From Distance’ trait encourages the player to take frequent shots from outside the box. This trait is useful to fully utilize a player’s Long Shots ability.
So if your BBM has poor long-range shots, then it’s better to discourage the player from learning the trait.