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You won’t win anything with Jermain Defoe – Fox in the box, on the Rocks?

Its official the one dimensional striker is dead. Who needs a goal hanger in their First XI if you want to win the biggest prizes? Owen, Defoe, do you want these type of players to play against the best in the world?

If you do, you obviously do not want to win the biggest prizes in the biggest competitions. I can understand your doubt, but let us look at the facts. To start, can you name one team who have won the league Championship having a poacher in the strongest line-up, in the strongest leagues, e.g. Spain, Italy, England? How about winning the Champions league? To keep it current you can go back as far as six years.

Why six years, well we would have just seen Cristiano Ronaldo for example, so a lot has happened since then. I hear you say Samuel Eto’o and Ruud Van Nistlerooy for example. The difference is that these two were centre forwards in the sense that the ball can be played up to them and it sticks. Effectively they can play with their backs to goal and bring others into play.

The players I am speaking of are the players who specialise in running in behind defences and breaking the offside line, they are not the commodity they used to be. If we take Micheal Owens’ career as an example, let me tell you what you get. Owen is a great goal poacher, who apparently only needs ‘one chance’. Throughout his Liverpool career as number 1 striker he never contributed 20 goals in a Premier league season, that may have contributed to the fact that Liverpool never even came close to winning the league in his time there or winning the Champions League. He then moved to Real Madrid as an impact substitute and won nothing. He then moved to Newcastle, but by now he is blighted with injury and promptly gets relegated. And now he is a substitute striker for Manchester United. He scored goals for England where he was the main man, and again England didn’t win anything. If the team revolves around him they do not tend to win the biggest prizes.

Do I even have to go there with Jermain Defoe? His Champions medals cabinet at home must be as clean as the day he was born. It does not mean that these type of players will not win anything or make an impact, it is just that if you look at the best teams regardless of formation, international or club, the fox in the box is nowhere to be seen. My problem is that for in the majority of cases, during 80mins of football they are quite anonymous, and occasionally they will poach a goal in the last ten minutes.

If you want top level success you do not hope for a goal, but instead seek to create one with 11 players, and not 10 plus 1. But they do have a place in the game just in case for the last 10mins, (fresh legs can work wonders). There you have it, the slow death of the one- dimensional, goal poaching, goal hanging striker in the new game. By the way did you manage to find a poacher in a winning team starting line up in the last six years? Maybe two, three? International? Club? I thought not.

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  1. Daniela Danielova Petkova

    12 January, 2011 at 16:16

    OK,l think that Jermain Defoe isn’t a good player at all. He is palying his own type of football.Of course that he is good,he is in a big team.But l think that he hasn’t got the power to win something and the coach must see this and do something fast

  2. joe90

    12 January, 2011 at 17:01

    Some interesting thoughts, and whilst I do agree that the classic number 9 and 10 relationship is changing (I’ve blogged on that in the past), I don’t completely agree with this post. For me the best ‘fox in the box’ of the last 10 years is Pippo Inzaghi, whose game is about as one dimensional as it gets, yet he won the Champions League in 2007 scoring Milan’s two goals in the final, and, but for a miracle, would have won the Champions League in 2005 as well.

  3. joe90

    12 January, 2011 at 17:37

    Also on Owen, whilst I’m far from his biggest fan it’s worth remembering that though he only scored 18 goals in 41 appearances at Real, only 15 of those appearances were starts, and in his one season in Madrid he had the highest goals per minute ratio of anyone in La Liga. For Newcastle he played a lot of his games behind two strikers as Keegan played him deep in a 4-3-1-2 formation. His record internationally is not far off a goal every other game, and his record for Liverpool was better than one every other game. He’s the last English winner of the Balon d’Or to boot. Having Owen in the side is not the reason Liverpool and England have failed to win things during his career, that’s my opinion at least.

  4. theamazingcliff

    12 January, 2011 at 17:47

    I agree with some of these views and understand what you mean about the game changing the role of a striker, but i believe their still a role for the old fashioned striker in world class football. Good thoughtful piece though

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