Midfielders play an important position in football as they are the connection between a team's attack and defense. They show a succession of roles in the middle third of the pitch. They play as deep-lying midfielders, playmakers, box-to-box midfielders, or holding midfielders, to call a few.
Vastly top teams in the world have world-class midfielders directing their play from the middle of the park or acting as a significant line between attack and defense. Some of the most well-known active names in this respect are Kevin De Bruyne, Thiago Alcantara, N'Golo Kante, Bruno Fernandes, and Toni Kroos.
It so transpires that some midfield players, despite being of world-class pedigree, do not get the awareness or glory they deserve for an abundance of reasons.
On that note, let us have a look at five such players.
#5. Christopher Nkunku -RB Leipzig
Christopher Nkunku has quietly earned a name for himself at Julian Nagelsmann's fresh side since completing a to RB Leipzig last summer.
The 23-year-old exhibited an impressive 15 Bundesliga assists last season - only Thomas Muller (21) and Jadon Sancho (17) had extra - supporting Leipzig to a creditable third place behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Four of these assists came in an incredible game against Schalke.
The young lad can play in numerous midfield roles, but it is in central attacking midfield where he has to ingrain the most, thanks to his dripping prowess, hitting proficiency, and eye for goal.
The former PSG player, who scored five times in all games last campaign, made only four assists for the French giants in four years but has already doubled that tally in a year.
Christopher, who has already scored in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season, has flourished under Julian Nagelsmann's tactical strategy and could quickly land at a bigger club if he proceeds with his progress.
#4. Nicolo Barella -Inter Milan
One of the nicest Italian midfielders to have arisen in recent times, Nicolo Barella made his name at Cagliari before making a switch to Inter Milan last summer.
The 23-year-old player recovered possession and won more duels than any player in Serie A to catch the awareness of Inter Milan. The club had a respectable 2019-20 season, completing a point behind of winners Juventus in Serie A and losing a five-goal suspenser against Sevilla in the Europa League final.
Not taken aback, Barella demonstrated in both games, generating eight goal-contributions and earning several key fightings while exceeding in the role of a mezzala, the connection between attack and defense.
Barella, who is believed to in the books of Liverpool and Manchester United, has appreciated Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte for his immediate growth, telling in this regard.
#3. Fabian Ruiz - Napoli
Fabian has been a darling player in the Napoli midfield since he came to the club in the summer of 2018.
The preceding Real Betis player slotted seamlessly into the Napoli line-up, generating an outstanding ten goal assistance in several games in his debut season at the club.
Ruiz has also been on great form this season, scoring a goal and an assist in eight league games, feats that have reportedly, reawaken attention from Spanish giants Real Madrid.
A left-footed central midfielder, the Spanish player is noted for his passing skills, ball-playing prowess, dripping ability, and ability to play different positions across the midfield, which indicates that could be endearing to many top clubs in the continent.
#2. Georginio Wijnaldum- Liverpool
Georginio Wijnaldum has been a crucial player for Liverpool since he arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2016.
The Dutch player, who plays in prominent midfield, has played at least 33 league games in each of his four seasons at Liverpool, the last of which generated Liverpool's first-ever league victory in three decades.
Wijnaldum is barely in the spotlight in a star-studded red team comprising of more prominent layers like Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Virgil Van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, and Alisson Becker.
The player has previously arisen from the limelight of his acquaintance Van Dijk, who has suffered a long-term injury, with his recent achievements for the Netherlands persuading interest from a series of top clubs across the continent.
#1.Pierre-Emile Hojberg - Tottenham
Pierre, who was acquired up by London side club Tottenham this season, did not take ample time to hit his pace at his new club, especially standing out in Tottenham's outstanding Premier League finish over Manchester City. Hojbjerg comes to Spurs with a terrible status of breaking up opposition play - he earned possession more times than any other player in the Premier League last season. Endeared by these characteristics, Jose Mourinho - a manager who doesn't mind winning terrible - gained the Danish midfielder at high-flying Tottenham Hotspur.
Hojbjerg has sent much-needed energy to the Tottenham midfield. Although he does not score too many goals or generate assists to take over the limelight - burden it on Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min for that - the Dane is evolving an important player under Mourinho.
Against Manchester City, the 25-year-old Dane enforced Mourinho's tactical gameplan to epitome. The form of Hojbjerg and his capacity to do more of the 'dirty work' could be key in Spurs earning their first Premier League title this season.
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