What Position Is 6 In Soccer? Role & How To Play

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What position is 6 in soccer?

First things first, Soccer is a sport composed of several positions, each having its importance. The number 6 position tends to arouse multiple questions as to what it is.

In this article, you are going to find out everything there is to know about the number 6 position in soccer.

Let’s get started.

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What Position Is 6 In Soccer?

The number 6 position in soccer is the defensive midfielder or CDM. The number 6 refers to the deepest midfielder on the pitch. They link up the defence to the midfield and protect the defenders by tackling and collecting all dangerous balls in their area.

Note that playing number 6 doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wear a shirt number 6.

Most soccer players that play this position don’t even wear the number 6.

Now let’s see what a number 6 does on the pitch.

What Is The Main Role Of Number 6?

In a nutshell, the main role of a number 6, also known as a defensive midfielder, is to link up the defence to the attack. They do it by switching the play, tackling, getting the ball from the opposition, and bringing the numerical number to the defence.

Number 6 Positioning On The Pitch

What position is 6 in soccer - A 4-3-3 formation displaying the number 6 position

The number 6 plays right in front of the defence and behind the midfielders. For instance, in a 4-3-3 formation, as shown in the pic above, the CDM is accompanied by two other midfielders who play a more attacking role.

In this position, the Central Defensive Midfielder protects the defence, helps maintain possessions, and starts attacking plays.

What position is 6 in soccer - A central defensive midfielder protecting the defense

A team can play with one or two defensive midfielders depending on the tactic.

And remember, the further your team gets up the field, the further you(number 6) get up the field. Always follow attacking midfielders and make sure you stay right behind them.

Skills Needed For A Defensive Midfielder

Because defensive midfielders play multiple roles, they must have a great passing ability and read the game in addition to their defence capabilities.

1-Passing Abilities.

As we already know, a defensive midfielder acts as the mediator between the defence and the attack.

Some teams require to keep possession of the ball and to take the ball from the defence to the attack using short passes. The defensive midfielder has to make sure this is done properly.

Hence, a defensive midfielder is required to have great passing and control ability. Losing the ball in the defensive midfielder position can be dangerous for a team that could be punished by the opposition.

2-Defensive Capabilities.

One of the primary skills required for a defensive midfielder is to be good at defending.

A great defensive midfielder should be able to get the ball from the attacking opposition and execute a counter-attack.

3-Read The Game

Except for the passing and defensive ability, a great defensive midfielder has to be able to read the game by intercepting passes and helping their team to win back possession in dangerous areas.

How To Play The 6 In Soccer?

To play and be an effective defensive midfielder, you have to:

1-Make It Easy For Defenders To Pass You The Ball.

It means you have to be aware of the gaps between the opposition midfield and attack. See pic below.

What position is 6 in soccer - A 6 midfielder receiving the ball between space

Here’s another one with real players.

What position is 6 in soccer - A Man United game where the central defensive midfielder is moving into space to receive the ball

In the image above, the CDM is moving horizontally and finding the right space to receive the ball.

Once you have received the ball from the defender, it’s important to use it properly.

To use the ball properly after receiving it, you have to create a goal-scoring opportunity. Meaning you should be looking for a teammate on the wings for a Through Pass.

2-Play Long Balls From Time To Time.

Once a CDM receives the ball, they should play forward ASAP to find a goal-scoring opportunity. This often involves passing long balls to your forward teammates.

So, make sure to improve your long passing skills.

If you can not play a long ball, make sure to find an attacking midfielder who can move the attack forward.

3-Pass The Ball Backward Sometimes.

When your team is under pressure and there is no opportunity to move forward, keep possession by passing the ball back to your defenders.

4-Bring Numerical Superiority.

When your team has the ball possession in defence, the attacking opposition is going to press.

But you have to come back and bring that superiority and make the number bigger.

For example, the attacking opposition can be 3, and the defenders + you 4. So, 3vs4.

What position is 6 in soccer - Three opposing forwards vs four defenders

5-The Number 6 Can Be Used Without Touching The Ball.

Sometimes, a defensive midfielder doesn’t need to touch the ball. All they need is to create pass lanes for teammates.

Note that this requires a lot of intelligence and communication on the pitch.

Creating a passing lane means making the opposition follow you to allow your teammate to find space and pass the ball to another teammate.

Bests Numbers 6 In Soccer

Here are three of the best number 6 in soccer.


Kante is a French player who has done a very great job at Chelsea Football Club.

With great defensive and attacking ability, Kante led Chelsea to the UCL final in 2021 and won it.


Xavi Hernadez use to play for Barcelona and led the Club to a few UCL trophies – He is one of the best to ever play in that position.


Casemiro is one of the best 6 in soccer. He won three consecutive UCL titles with Real Madrid under Z. Zidane.

Everyone loved his battle on the field with Messi.

Wrap Up

Playing number 6 is one of the most comfortable positions in soccer. But not the easiest position.

But you have to be able to pass long balls, be physically ready, run a lot, and read the game. If you have those skills, you can be a great number 6 in soccer.

So, do you have what it takes?

If so, then go out there and rock it.

I hope you have gained value from this article.

What is your favourite position in soccer? Who is your favourite number 6? What skills do you need to improve your game?

Let me know in the comment section below.

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