The Regista (Deep Lying Playmaker) by llama3

This article was originally written by llama3 on the official SI forums. You can find the original thread here, there’s some good comments on there too. We were planning to write an article on the DLP but I felt Llama’s effort was great and it would be silly to try and top it, so thank you Llama for allowing us to post this here. He has some other tremendous threads over at the SI forums so if you want to see more from him then go and take a look!


Now anyone who knows anything about me and FM knows that I like 4-2-3-1’s, I like Trequartista’s and I like creative football that retains possession – well time to talk about the unsung hero of the system – the Deep-Lying Playmaker or the Regista.

Football Manager’s Tactics Creator Defines the DLP (or Regista) as:

“The Deep-Lying Playmaker operates in the space between the defence and the midfield and aims to initiate attacking moves via pinpoint passes to players positioned higher up the pitch. 

Although primarily a creative player, the Deep-Lying Playmaker also has to be competent in the art of defence.

In a support duty the Deep-Lying Playmaker will bring the ball out of defence and look for long shot opportunities as well as supplying through-balls.

In a defend duty the Deep-Lying Playmaker will fulfil extra defensive responsibilities by holding position in front of defence and will rarely look to support attacks.”

So now with this in mind we have a greater idea of what the Deep-Lying Playmaker is all about. He is a player who sits in a slightly deeper position to a standard central midfielder, and is responsible for playing long passes to switch play to the other flank, or to play through balls directly through, or over the top of the opposition defence. Now through-balls are best linked with a forward who is reasonably pacy and has good off the ball movement, to enable them to get into a position to recieve the ball or run onto the pass in space. The Deep-Lying Playmaker also has defensive responsiblity, he does not charge forward much in support of attacks as he is needed to shield the defence and can do so as the only defensive midfielder, or as part of a pair comfortably.

The Example – Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta plays as a Deep-Lying Playmaker (Support) in my current Arsenal side, here is Mikel with the key attributes for his role highlighted.

Now Mikel as you can see is creative, can play a good pass and recieve and control the ball easily and he appears good under pressure, and has a reasonable level of defensive nous. This is obvious by his match stats which show a steady if unspectacular player who completes a lot of passes, has a fairly good defensive set of statistics too, making good contributions with tackles and an impressive tally of interceptions in midfield too.

Now time for an example to show you how he plays during a match, my example here is my New Year’s Eve game at home to Queen’s Park Rangers in a convincing 4-0 win, and you can see that first of all he won 3 interceptions in very crucial areas of the pitch because of the defensive responsiblities he has.

We can also see that he has completed an exceptional amount of passes, often choosing simple passes to retain the ball, but with a few more ambitious passes throughout which shows that when the opportunity presents he is capable of initiating attacking moves.

Now we see the heatmap which shows just because Arteta is a player who is still capable of covering a large distance from box to box, which shows he truly is playing both a defensive and offensive game.

So therefore we see that the Deep-Lying Playmaker holds position and is defensively very important (judged by the numbers of tackles and interceptions made) yet has the technical skill to find offensive players with balls up front or over the top – as we see in this next example.

In Action

So now we can see an example of the dangers of the Regista, this is from my early season 6-1 win at home to Swansea, and Arteta is holding a conservative position in the midfield alongside Alex Song, both players have close pressure from nearby central midfielders. The obvious and frankly safer passes are to Ramsey who is a simple ball just ahead of Arteta and Song, or back to Vermaelen who is in a little space.

Now we see that Theo Walcott has made a run (highlighted) in the wide-right position, and Arteta has a midfielder closing down rapidly upon him. Arteta though has seen the incoming opponent, and also seen the opportunity opening up, furthermore he has the passing skill to weight a ball perfectly into Walcott’s path.

Theo Walcott is now clean through with just the goalkeeper to beat, and is too quick for any defender to catch him. Only a good save from Vorm denied him on this occasion.

Discussion and Limitations within a System

Now whilst we see that the Regista covers a lot of distance during a game, and retains the ball excellently, he is rarely in the thick of an attack, he tends to either supply breaking forwards with long-range passes, or he is retaining and moving the ball with other midfielders. I feel that in a 4-2-3-1 he is perfect in the 2-man central midfield part of the system, with a purely defensive partner. I think that the Regista does not make enough forward runs to be the more offensive player in a 4-4-2 and therefore is better in a 2-man midfield as the more defensive player. He can function well at DMC or MC and does need to be intelligent as a priority. Exclude players with PPM’s that play simple passing games, as this will not allow you to see the quick countering aspect of a Deep-Lying Playmaker.

Suitable Midfield Set Ups

The Deep-Lying Playmaker could  be used in central midfield in the following ways for maximum effectiveness:

Example 1
MRC – Ball-Winning Midfielder – Defend
MLC – Deep-Lying Playmaker – Support
AMC – Trequartista – Attack

Example 2
MRC – Deep-Lying Playmaker – Defend
MLC – Box-to-Box Midfielder – Support

Example 3
DMRC – Anchorman – Defend
DMLC – Deep-Lying Playmaker – Support
AMC – Attacking Midfielder – Attack

Example 4
DMC – Deep-Lying Playmaker – Support
MRC – Ball-Winning Midfielder – Defend
MLC – Central Midfielder – Attack
AMC – Advanced Playmaker – Attack

Example 5
DMC – Deep-Lying Playmaker – Defend
MRC – Ball-Winning Midfielder – Support
MLC – Central Midfielder – Attack

I hope this guide has given you some help to understand how the Regista works, and how you can set up the role in your FM side.

One comment on “The Regista (Deep Lying Playmaker) by llama3

  1. I mostly use 4-4-2 formation and one of the MC is always a Ball Winning midfielder and the other one is a advanced player or deep lying playmaker depending on his skills.

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