We have been through the defensive positions and the midfield positions, so the third and final edition is the attacking positions. If you missed either of the previous one’s I have written, here is a link to both:
If you have read both of those, or you know that you want to play in an attacking position, then stick around as this post should provide you with some knowledge on what those positions are, what roles they entail and what sort of player you need to be to become this position.
Attackers get most of the lime light, the media focuses on goals and assists and even when an attacker makes a horrendous miss. I know most of you won’t be trying to play football to become professional and in the media, but the same happens in any level. Not the media, but if you score people will talk about it, and remember it- so if you want a lot of attention then an attacking role is a good start.
It’s not all about attention however, of course if you love to attack the opponent, run at them, shoot and dribble then attacking is the best place to be. Before I begin, I just want to say that if you have never played football, and you just want to play up front because your favourite player plays there, then I advise you to at least read my previous posts, or try playing in a different position.
I’m not trying to stop you from playing up front, but in any one team there is usually only 3 attackers maximum, and most people want to play as an attacking player so there is not enough positions to go round. From my personal experience, I much prefer playing in midfield but of course every body is different. Just something to think about.
A lot of the GOAT’s (Greatest Of All Time) have been wingers, this is because the position is such an effective attacking position. The winger has the ability to do it all from the position they are on the pitch, they can run down the line and cross, they can cut inside and shoot, they can get in the box to finish a cross. When it comes to attacking, they has the license to score in all the most effective ways.
Some of the best wingers or ex-wingers include, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, Neymar, David Beckham, Johan Cruyff and the list goes on. Next I am going to write about some of the most important things a winger can do, and tell you all about the position.
Tips to become a good winger:
There are many types of wingers, who all have different play styles and strengths. However one of the best things a winger can do is become unpredictable. By this, I mean not doing the same thing over and over, like running down the wing and crossing it in for example. If you are quick enough this will work for a while, but the defenders will start to pick up on this and maybe stand further back to give themselves more of a head start. This is where you are able to switch it up, use that extra space they have given you and cut inside and look for a shot/pass. This is just one example, but there are many things you can do in order to become unpredictable. Use Ronaldinho as an example, you truly never knew what he was going to do next- he made defenders genuinely scared to face him because he could end careers with a single move.
There are some wingers out there who can take on players, are rapid down the wing and can dribble with ease. However, they lack end product. End product is essential as a winger and if you don’t have this, you simply won’t be good enough. What I mean by this term is, depending on whether you are crossing or shooting- it’s being able to do that well. It’s no good being able to get into great positions if you can’t actually do anything with he ball once you get there. I am going to use Arjen Robben as an example. This player is known for his ability to cut inside the defenders and score with a curving left-footed shot. He is so good at it, that the defenders and goalkeepers know exactly what he is going to do, but still can’t stop him. Robben has an extremely consistent left foot which means that 9/10 he can put the ball towards the corner with power and at least test the keeper. If he couldn’t actually shoot, there would be no point in him being able to get into those positions so consistently- which hopefully explains how important it is to possess end product.
As an attacking player, you may think that this means you don’t need to do any defending. This is the wrong assumption to make as there are certain situations which require you to defend. Of course, every player needs to put pressure on the ball, so when the ball is with the opposition defence, the winger would need to put pressure on players just like anyone else. However, there is another type of defending wingers need to do which is specific for their position. This is covering for the full back. If you read the Defensive Edition, you will remember reading that the full back has the ability to make those overlapping runs on the outside of the winger. Well, if you as the winger, choose to use the full backs run, then you need to drop back slightly in order to be able to cover the full backs position as they will have left a gap in the defence. If the ball does get turned over and the opposition then start attacking and you are sitting in the full back position. Then you better get your defending boots on (not literally, no time!) and play full back.
A few other skills you should possess as a winger are, speed. Wingers are often fast as they take on defenders and like to directly attack the goal. This is not essential, there are a few top players who aren’t the quickest but still do a good job on the wing. David Silva for example, he has moved more central now but for a large part of his career he played on the right wing.
It is important to be able to have good ball control, this includes close dribble, a good touch and to be able to judge the size of your touch when you are running. This is essential as a winger as you will receive a lot of the ball and you will be trying to take on defenders who’s sole responsibility is to ‘defend’ so they are going to be somewhat decent. If you show too much of the ball to them, you aren’t going to be with the ball much longer.
If there was any position on the pitch where skill moves come in handy, it would be for a winger. When you are young at the park, practising skill moves would be what you would spend a lot of time doing, hoping for that one chance that you could rainbow flick the defender and score a bicycle kick. Well, I’m not sure that’s going to happen too often, but skill moves are useful as a winger. Just ask Ronaldinho (or maybe watch a video about him, asking him may be quite difficult).
This is probably the most popular position in football because it’s where you can get goals. Scoring a goal is probably the best feeling in football after winning. Of course, you can score goals from any position, but playing up front, it is literally you sole job to score goals (no pressure).
From my experience of watching and playing football, the striker get’s the least touches on the ball, excluding the keeper. There are different play styles as a striker and some do like to drop in slightly deeper in order to get some touches on the ball, however there majority of the time they are just there waiting or that golden opportunity.
Some of the best strikers of all time are: Pele, Van Basten, Ibrahimovic, Lewandowski, Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane and so many more. These strikers are known because of their abundance of goals, not really any other reason. There are many ways to tell you what you need to do in order to be a good striker, but really, the only thing you need to do is score goals. If you can do that, you are on the right path.
Tips to become a good striker:
Like I said before, the main tip I can give you on being a good striker is to score goals. Obviously it is not that simple and there are ways in which you can get better at scoring goals. The first one is to work on your finishing. Most chances that strikers get are close to the goal and usually just require you to slot it under or to the side of the keeper. So just practice one and one’s over and over. Although strikers do get the opportunity to take the odd long shot, and you should occasionally work on this, long shots are more suited to wingers and midfielders so focus on your close range finishing to begin with.
Another type of finishing to work on is scoring from a cross- this could be a header, a volley or a simple tap in. However, a huge chunk of your goals will be just from finishing off someone else’s hard work. It is harder than it looks. Often times a cross will come in fast and you will have to react and get your foot positioning just right in order to slot the ball away. This will come with practice but is hugely important.
Something that all strikers have is positioning awareness. Good strikers always seem to has the ability to know where the right position is to score. Even if the ball is just bouncing around off other players, or someone else is taking the shot- strikers need to know where the ball is going to end up so that they can get on the end of it and score an easy tap in. The more you time you spend as a striker, in the box, moving around and trying to get in good positions, the more you are going to actually get it right and score goals. It’s all about experience in the game and practising the relevant things. One player who managed to do this a lot in his career is Gary Lineker, he scored a lot of goals and most of them were down to him being in the correct place in order to score a tap in. Ironically, the skill in being a striker is not shooting, it’s knowing where to position yourself.
When choosing what sort of striker you want to be, you need to take a look at your body type and strengths. If you are tall and muscular, it may benefit you more to be an aerial threat, looking for the headers and knockdowns for other players. This sort of player would be someone like Peter Crouch. If you are smaller, this doesn’t mean you can’t be good at heading either- there are many brilliant headers of the ball which are slightly smaller like Tim Cahill or Michael Owen.
If you are smaller, you could be best at dribbling, taking players on and keeping the ball on the ground. A good example of this would be Lionel Messi or Eden Hazard. Football, in any position, is about playing to your strengths as there is no point focusing on something you are not good at. You will inevitably improve at the things you aren’t so great at just by doing them, so don’t worry too much about trying to implement them into your game. Just focus on the stuff which will get you results.
I hope this has helped
We have now been through all the most common positions on the football pitch, and I really hoped you learnt something whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, I’m sure there was something for everyone in this series of posts. If you have missed the other 2 editions to this post, I recommend you do because there are things to learn for everyone, even if it isn’t the position you are looking at playing in. Here are links to both of them:
Thank you for reading and once again, I hope you enjoyed. If you have any questions, queries or ideas that you want to run by me, I would be more than happy to reply to them so just leave them in the comments section below.
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