Their goalscoring records are more akin to a prolific striker. Their impressive figures are thanks to their talent for infiltrating the box undetected.
More after the break
So, how do you stop them? By shadowing their run and working with your defence, says Michael Carrick.
Having operated as a holding midfielder for both Manchester United and England, Carrick has come up against some of the world's best attacking midfielders and roadblocked their assaults on goal.
He shares his knowledge with FourFourTwo Performance in this video.
Michael Carrick wears Puma football boots. For more details, visit pumafootball.com
The holding role: Pick the right pass
The holding role: What to do when you are overrun
The holding role: Press space, not players
The holding role: Cut the supply line
The holding role: Discipline is key
The holding role: Know your job
Michael Carrick: Protecting the back four