In soccer, the striking position is one of the most exciting positions to play in or watch. This is a very influential position as it affects the mood of the whole stadium. It is arguably the most important position on the pitch.
Scoring goals is one of the hardest tasks on the pitch. This is one of the reasons why strikers often earn more money than players in other positions.
A striker is supposed to complement the hard work of the goalkeeper, defenders, and midfielders by scoring goals. This is the primary role of players playing in this area. However, there is much more than scoring goals, and we will explore all that in this review.
What is a Striker?
A striker is a player in the team who is positioned closest to the opponent's goal, whose main responsibility is to score goals. Just as the name striker suggests, they are required to strike the ball into the opponent's goal.
To become a goal threat, a striker has to have skilled footwork and good running speed to take on defenders. Also, they need to have good communication with other players to receive accurate passes before scoring goals.
There are various types of strikers, and we have different players who perform better in the following options.
This is the traditional role of any striker in soccer. The center forward role requires all-around tall and physical players to get onto the end of crosses into the opponent's box. Their physical presence should allow them to pick passes and retain possession.
The common position of a center forward is in front of the attacking midfielders or second strikers. We have seen in the past center forwards taking on the roles of the attacking midfielders.
One of the best ways to exploit this position is by having the wingers supply the ball to the center forward. This way, the wingers apply pressure on the full-backs, creating space for the striker to score goals.
As a center forward, there are certain skills one has to have, such as good dribbling ability, excellent first touch, perfect shooting power, and accuracy. Also, one should be able to play under pressure from several defenders trying to clear the threat.
Wayne Rooney is a player who played the second striker position perfectly. Second strikers are deep-lying forwards whose roles vary over the years.
The second striker position is a little behind the other forward. Players in this area have the freedom to roam and can either run forward to get at the end of crosses and passes, or drop back to collect the ball and create goal-scoring chances.
An ideal second striker should be fast and light. This allows them to help the midfield press in case they lose ball possession. During the game, these players tend to play outside the box to act as mobile strikers.
A winger is an attacking player usually positioned near the touchlines. The main responsibility of the winger is to decongest the opponent's box by drawing out the full-backs. This way, they can create space for the other players to exploit and score goals.
Apart from that, a good winger should beat the full-backs and deliver crosses or cut-back. For this to happen, they must have excellent dribbling abilities and a unique playing style. They are also the quickest players on the team.
Wingers can also act as inverted wingers. This gives them a chance to cut through the middle and go for the goal themselves. A good example of a well-known inverted winger is Cristiano Ronaldo.
As the name suggests, a striker playing as a target man is the main reference for the other teammates. The main roles of this player are to win high air balls, hold up the ball, create goal-scoring opportunities for other players, and of course, score goals.
The ideal target man should be muscular, tall, and robust to have good aerial abilities. Having a player playing the target man role is advantageous as they can receive balls in deep positions and free up space for other teammates to be creative and create scoring opportunities.
Many people often confuse this position, mostly because it is similar to the attacking midfielder role. A false nine striker is a player who occasionally drops deep into midfield to dictate the direction of play.
In practice, the false nine striker plays offensively and acts as a reference for the opposing defenders. As the play builds up, the striker then tracks back and joins the midfield. This way, they can create a vast space in the opponent's defense.
Good managers use this position to allow midfielders and wingers to rush forward and exploit the space left by the opposing center backs. A good false nine striker has to have good dribbling skills and passing abilities for this to happen.
What is the Role of a Striker in Soccer?
This section looks at what is expected of a striker playing in any of the above striking positions. The role of a striker is to:
- Score goals and create goal-scoring opportunities.
- Receive the ball from the midfielders and shield the ball from the opposing defenders.
- Make runs behind the opposing defense.
- Time their runs to prevent them from being caught offside.
- Make crosses or try to get in the opposing penalty area to get at the end of crosses.
- Mark the opposing defenders from goal kicks and close them down to try and win possession back.
- Try to stop the opposing full-backs from switching play.
The striker position is a key position that requires a player to score goals and create scoring opportunities. As a striker, both your teammates and fans expect you to win the game for them. It is one of the interesting areas to play in, and we hope you could use this guide to understand the potion better. Use this information to build a strong and dominant team.