Just look at the demand for Haaland; the quality that Harry Kane brings Tottenham. They are hugely important. But of late they have become less important, especially for Pep’s Manchester City. It’s not just City though, Liverpool haven’t played with an out and out striker since Suarez left. Roberto Firmino was actually an attacking midfielder when he joined the club. Jurgen Klopp realised he could hold the ball up well and bring the wingers into the game, but Firmino isn’t a player to score twenty plus goals a season.
So really, the use of out and out strikers aren’t as frequent as you may think. Even Manchester United at the moment don’t have one.
But, they are so important, and the benefits of having an out and out striker shouldn’t be forgotten. Football can have its own fashions and trends. At the moment, false nines, or deep lying forwards, seem to be the in trend, however, an out and out striker can be just as important, if not more so.
Haaland and Kane are both valued well into the £100 millions, and there is a reason for that: they are just so important.
An out and out striker not only gives the team more opportunities to score, but is also going to create space and further opportunities for teammates. At the moment lots of attacking players like to come short to the ball, largely due to their fantastic technical ability. Think of Rashford and Martial at Manchester United, both hugely talented players with pace to run in behind defences, yet they will regularly drop short to the ball, looking to demonstrate their technical ability.
However, when Cavani is introduced, the whole style of play changes. The midfield players have runs forward to look for and have more time on the ball. Cavani’s runs in behind the defenders and off their shoulders creates movement that causes the back line to drop deeper, giving those influential midfielders, such as Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, more time on the ball.
So it’s not all about goals, although a striker who can put the ball in the back of the net regularly is someone we would all want on our teams.
It is also the movement. This movement that Cavani brings, or a player like Haaland offers, is hugely important. The predictability of dropping short to the ball encourages the defence to step higher up the pitch, squeezing the play. Doing this makes the midfield more congested and also gives the opposition a chance to win the ball closer to your team's goal. Runs off the ball, in behind the defence, are great for creating more space for others on the pitch.
And this is something that not all players, especially at the younger ages, realise.
Runs off the ball, even if you don’t get it, are still doing great things for your team. If five times you run behind the defence and you don’t get it, it may seem frustrating, however, those five times would have created more space for others. Continuing these runs will help you, eventually, get in the right position to score, but also give other players better opportunities to find the right pass.
So movement is key. That is one of the most vital things for a striker and this movement will help the team and the striker score more goals. Have a striker who always drops short to the ball and they may just not be in the right goalscoring positions as an out and out striker like Haaland.
And that is why he is valued so highly.
So, if you’re a young striker looking to go far in the game, be excited to score goals. Dream of scoring as many as you can, at times be selfish and look to score frequently.
The out and out striker may not be as common as it used to be but they are just as important and any successful team would love to have one.
One of the hardest things to do in the game is be a consistent goalscorer. You’ve got pressure on your shoulders and at times that one chance to score can be down to you, but it is a great position. Players like Harry Kane, Haaland, Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku all have a fantastic ability to score goals, with brilliant ruthlessness. The out and out striker offers that security for teams, security that, if they get the right opportunity, there is a high chance they will take it.
They offer goals, movement, opportunities for others to be creative and confidence to the team. The brilliant technical midfielders are more confident in playing those forward passes to a striker who is likely to score, improving the game of those around them while also being that great goal scoring threat.
And the other thing, perhaps one of the most important aspects and benefits of having an out and out striker, is the respect that the other team give you.
At any moment they know that they could be behind. Sometimes these strikers can score out of the smallest of opportunities. Because of this, the opponents may play more reactionary, rather than more proactively, focusing on protecting their goal more which, in turn, gives your team the advantage, almost instantly.
It is a great position and young strikers who want to score goals should never worry about missing an opportunity. Learn to be an out and out striker, even though there may not be as many of them around as there once were, and you can really make your team a threat to be dealt with.
It’s a great position and can bring brilliant success.