The 11 Football Positions and What They Do

Are you aware nearly half of the football fans don’t understand the role of their favorite players in the field? Are you one of them? We have prepared a detailed analysis of all football positions in the field and what they do.

List of Soccer Positions on the Field and Their Roles

Number 1: The Goal Keeper

At least, almost anyone knows the role of a goalkeeper. A goalkeeper prevents the opponent players from scoring by any means possible including grabbing the ball by hands. However, the keeper must not grab the ball in case of a back pass by any of his colleagues.

World Class Goal Keepers today include David De Gea (Man U), Gianluigi Buffon (PSG), and Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich).

 Soccer Defenders

Defenders are next to the goalkeeper. They shield goalkeeper from the striking force of the opponent team. There are several defenders as explained below.

Number 2: Right Back (RB)

RB is positioned right of the defense as the name suggest.

Role: They prevent the right-wingers of from crossing the ball to the box or cutting in to shoot.

Examples:  Dani Alves (PSG), Danilo (Juventus), and Valencia (Man United).

Number 3: Left Back (LB)

Definition: As the name suggests, LB is a defender on the left side of the defence team.

Role: RB’s role as that of the Right back only that they play at the left

Examples: Marcello (Real Madrid) and Alba (Barcelona) are examples.

Number 4: Centre back (CB)/The Sweeper

The sweepers cover gaps emerging from the defence since they are free and do not necessarily mark the opponent.

They are the game readers and often join midfield when the team is in possession. Most importantly, they clear the ball if it goes past the first defence line hence the name sweeper.

Example include Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), and Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool).

Number 5: Centre back (CB)/The Stopper

Number 5 is a role lined up at the centre of the defence team and direct in front of the goalkeeper.

Role: The main role of the CB is to stop the opponent’s striker and mark the striker during corners.

They are mostly physically strong and tall to win aerial balls.

Examples: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), and Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid) and Pique (Barcelona) are notable stoppers.

Soccer Midfielders

These are players in the middle of the field as the name suggests. They include:

Number 6: Defensive Midfielder (DM)

DM is positioned just in front of the defenders

Role: DM’s role is to tackle the opponents and prevent them from advancing towards the goal.

In addition, they offer extra support for defenders to drive away from the opponents.

ExamplesNkolo Kante (Chelsea), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), and Blaise Matuidi (Juventus).

Number 7: Right Wide Winger

Wide Midfielder plays on the right wing. Their main role is to supply forwards with crosses to score.

Skills: WM should be very fast and very skilled in dribbling to cut in through the defence to either score or supply the ball to the forwards for finishing.

Example: Mario Gotze (Bayern).

Number 8: Central Midfielders (CM)

CM is a position with dual roles. CM players tackle the ball from the opponent’s defenders and.

Role: Being centrally located gives CM an advantage to see both sides of the field and control ball flow.

Examples: Luka Modric (Real Madrid) and Paul Pogba (Man United) are examples.

Number 10: Playmaker/ Attacking Midfielder (AM)

Playmaker may play on the right, centre or on the left between CM and attackers.

Role: AM is to create chances and scoring when appropriate.

Skills include excellent ball control, pass accurately, ability to shoot long balls, the ability to study the game, and fast.

Examples include Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), and Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona).

 Number 9: The Center Striker

Also commonly known as the striker is the goal scorer whose performance is rated with how many goals they score.

Skills include being fast, high dribbling ability, and accurate.

World Class Examples: include Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Suarez (Barcelona), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), and Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich).

Special Football Positions

Today’s football is changing. As a result, coaches are creating new positions to compact the opponents.

Such a position will change from team to team depending on the opponent. Some of the special positions are explained below.

Second Striker

The playmaker is positioned between attackers and the midfielders. Their main role is helping the striker score and scoring goals.

Skills include being elusive, creative, and fast to dodge the opponents.

Examples: Thomas Müller (Bayern), Mohammed Salah (Liverpool), and Lionel Messi (Barcelona) are perfect examples.

False Number 9 

False number 9 is mostly a forward or midfielder who starts in front of the opponent’s goal as a lone striker, replacing the traditional number 9.

As the game goes on, the false 9 retreats deeper into the midfield pulling the defenders with him, leaving space for the forwards to strike retreat to deeper midfield.

He also dribbles and shoots to score. Mario and Götze, Messi are commonly played at this position

Inverted Winger (IW) 

IW plays the same position as the traditional wingers only that the left-footed IW play on the right while right footed IW play on the left side.

Their main role is to cut inside from wings toward the goal area either to create chances for the other forwards or to shoot and score.

It is worth noting that IWs scores most goals in today’s football.

Notable players commonly played in this position include Arjen Robben (Bayern), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), and Christiano Ronaldo (Juventus).


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