It is often the case that even the most die-hard football fans sometimes get confused when it comes to different positions in football that players play at. Many times when you are watching a football game the person doing the commentary says something that sounds like gibberish to you.
To cut the long story short, here is a summarized description of every conventional football position that one may come across while either watching the game or in a discussion with friends.
The sweeper position in the defense lineup of a team is an integral and extremely important constituent of the whole team. Not only is the sweeper required to have a strong moral character but also strong leadership skills to make sure the defense stays intact and doesn’t get carried away. Usually a sweeper is visible if there is a 5 defenders-3 mid-fielders-2 striker’s strategy in place. The sweeper also has the duty to stay behind the two center backs and make sure that the goal is secured at all times even if the center backs decide to make a run towards the mid-field.
The center-full back position in football is considered to be the heart of the defense position. Playing right in front of the goalkeeper, the fullbacks have the duty to make sure any offensive move by the opposition team is dealt with. Center fullbacks are usually well built players who have good vision and are good in the air (which means they are good headers of the ball). The center full-backs can also make an offensive run if the team is making a counter-attack after breaking the opposing team forward runs. Passing is also key and the ability to fluently get the ball from defense to mid-field is an essential skill required by the center full-backs.
The left/right fullback position in defense is yet again a very key position in a game of football. They cover the far corners of the pitch and make sure that any sudden burst made by the opposing midfield or the opposing strikers is stopped. In the recent past, left/right full-backs also play a pivotal role in any attack that a team makes. Ashley Cole of Chelsea/England is one such example who is at the heart of every attack made by the team. Bacary Sagna of Arsenal/France is also a diverse example of an aggressive attacking Fullback, though in most cases the right/left fullbacks are instructed to hold their position.
To play in a wingback position in a game of football not only requires brute strength but also requires a considerable amount of skill to match the strength. The wingback plays on the wing position of the pitch but with a defensive frame of mind capable of attacking. The wingback is sort of like a hybrid car with an ability to shift between the two roles with utmost ease and also perform well.
Midfield as the name suggests is the middle battling ground in a game of football. The midfield line is an initial stop to the aggressive offense by the opposition and is also the starting point for any attack that is a counter. A player playing in the mid-field on the left or the right is required by the nature of the position to have a good strength and precision crossing abilities, crossing abilities so that when there is an attack the pinpoint crossing can find the striker to eventually score.
The defensive midfielder has the task to play in a role that supports the defense but also facilitates the midfield area of the pitch. A typical example of an effective defensive midfielder is Alex Song of Cameroon/Arsenal. A lot of character and patience is a prerequisite to play in this position. To hold any surging midfield attacks made and to run with the ball in the opposing half to start a move are one of the many duties of a defensive Midfielder.
The two central midfield positions are base camp for any attack. The ability to pass with precision and keep the ball and not give it away is an important skill that any central midfielder has to possess in order to play with proper proficiency. As the job of the midfield is also to stop any proceeding attacks from the other team, the central midfielders must also resist and retaliate if any attack does materialize so that the defense gets a little breathing space.
As the name suggests, the winger is someone who lives and breathes on the wing of the pitch but has the ability to make a surgical run between the defense and score. This position has gotten a lot of importance as of late because wingers are usually the most deadly players in a football team. The 2010 FIFA world cup saw the likes of Arjen Robben of The Netherlands wreak havoc while playing as a winger. Theo Walcott of Arsenal and England is another example of how a winger can make life living hell for any defense.
The striker is the main person who has been delegated the duty to score. In football if you don’t score you don’t matter no matter how good the team passes or crosses, if the striker cannot finish of a move by a goal it is considered void of any applauds. A good striker is always a good “national finisher” who can strive his way through the heart of defense and place the ball beyond the goalkeeper.
The plethora of blame will always fall on the shoulder of the striker if the other team manages to keep a clean sheet after the game has ended.
As a the name suggests, the job of the goalkeeper is to keep the goal safe and make sure that any ball sent towards the goal is either held or punched to safety. A good goalkeeper is required to have a lot of moral character and absolute fitness to function properly in the position. A good goalkeeper can keep the goal safe and ensure a clean sheet; on the contrary a bad goalkeeper can lay all efforts made by the team to waste if he doesn’t perform properly. The Goalkeeper can also play an integral part in an attacking move by guiding the ball up the field.
The second striker is the side kick of the main striker. As a second striker the job is fairly simple on paper but very hard in the field of play. The ability to hold the ball, head a long pass on to the striker and when required also score goals. The second striker needs to be a natural with the ball and dribble to perfection to make a good play for the striker. Ball shielding is also prime because when the players are making a run there is a need for the second striker to keep the ball to facilitate any final attack.
To succeed as a center forward, the will to actually score and the drive to make a good run down the field of play is an essential factor. The centre forward also needs to be patient because majority of the 90 minutes of the normal course of the game, the center forward will be without the ball because he will be too busy running around making space for his team mates to pass the ball around. Good heading abilities can also act as an essential ability when the style of the team is the long ball playing style.
The offensive midfielder plays a little ahead of the normal midfield line and usually scores goals. Due to this factor the team as a whole and the manager also rely on the offensive midfielder to make play even if he doesn’t score. Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal/Spain is one of the best offensive midfielders in the world right now and his strategy is simple, pass the ball to the strikers with precision or run with the ball himself and score. A good eye for the ball and a good ability to tackle and dribble is very important.