Forwards, also known as strikers, are the players on a team in association football who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, and are therefore principally responsible for scoring goals. This very advanced position and its limited defensive responsibilities mean forwards normally score more goals than other players. This position requires intelligence, speed, and power, both of execution and of thought, to perform the role well.
Modern team formations usually include one to three forwards; two is the most common. Coaches typically field one striker who plays in an advanced position (the centre forward), and another attacking forward who plays somewhat deeper and assists in making goals as well as scoring (the second striker). It should be noted that inside forwards develop from attacking midfield positions and hence are naturally midfielders. Barcelona FC star Lionel Messi is a typical Attacking Midfielder seen as a forward due to his shot accuracy.
The centre forward is often a tall player, typically known as a target man, whose main function is to score the majority of goals for his team. He may also be used to win long balls or receive passes and "hold up" the ball as team-mates advance, to help teammates score by providing a pass ('through ball' into the box); the latter variation usually requiring quicker pace. Most modern centre forwards operate in front of the second strikers or centre attacking midfielders, and do the majority of the ball handling outside the box. The present role of centre forward is sometimes interchangeable with that of an attacking midfielder, especially in the 4-3-1-2 or 4-1-2-1-2 formations. A centre forward usually must be strong, to win key headers and 'outmuscle' defenders. striker is formation in which there were five forward players: two Outside forwards, two inside forwards, and one centre forward. When numbers were introduced in the 1933 English FA Cup final, one of the two centre forwards that day wore the number nine Everton's Dixie Dean a strong, powerful forward who had set the record for the most goals scored in one season in English football during the 1927-28 season. The number would then become synonymous with the centre forward position (only one that day because one team was numbered 1–11 whilst the other was numbered 12–22). The modern era has different formations and has squad numbers rather than numbers 1–11, but some positions still retain their original numbers and a traditional centre forward or target man is often found wearing the number nine, such as Alan Shearer, who wore the number 9 shirt at club and international level, or Fernando Torres, the Spanish centre forward player who is wearing number nine in his team and at international level.
The striker is rather different from the centre forward. Strikers are more known for their ability to peel off defenders and to run into space via the blind side of the defender and to receive the ball in a good goalscoring position. They are typically fast players with decent ball control and dribbling abilities. A good striker should be able to shoot confidently with both feet, possess great power and accuracy, and have the ability to pass the ball under pressure in breakaway situations. While many strikers also wear the number 9 shirt, the position is traditionally associated with the number 10, occasionally numbers 7 and 11, though both of these are more common for wingers.
Deep-lying forwards have a long history in the game, but the terminology to describe them has varied over the years. Originally such players were termed inside forwards, or deep-lying centre forwards. More recently, two more variations of this old type of player have developed: the second or shadow or support or auxiliary striker and, in what is in fact a distinct position unto its own, the Number 10, Diego Maradona who is often described as an attacking midfielder or the playmaker.