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Scouting a World class Centre Forward

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Football: Player Profile – Identifying or Scouting a World class Centre Forward. e.g Samuel Eto’o, Robert Lewandowski, Luiz Suarez

With advancement in technology and coaching and the desire for players to stick more to a coach’s tactics rather than primarily on their gifted skills, it is not surprising that one can actually create a world class centre forward.

However as long as football is concerned with human beings, it does not just take training (Improvement) to create the such a player.

Here I quote “Skills FIRST before anything else”

It is why scouting or identifying football talents [centre forward] will always be the primary means of creating a world class centre forward. It is just like saying without a good idea, one cannot gather the rightful resources to produce the right and perfect output.

But what do i mean by a world class centre forward?

The role of a centre forward in football

The centre forward role is sometimes called the football traditional no 9 or the bona fide no 9 role.

Fluid forward lines offer variety and flexibility, but sometimes a fixed point of attack is the most dangerous option.

We have spent so long living in the era of the false nine, the player who starts as a central attacker but drops back to link the buildup play, that it is easy for us to forget what an actual center forward looks like – a traditional no. 9, if you will.

The centre forward, whose favorite habitat begins on the shoulder of the last defender and ends 2 yards from the opponent’s goal line, has at times found itself something of an endangered species.

This is because football’s central areas have become so inhospitable to the game’s most gifted attackers, so diligently patrolled by defenders, that they occupy the space out wide, only swooping to plunder at the very last moment.

The fact that so many teams now play with high defensive lines and also play out from the back means that the centre forward needs to spend more time than ever chasing the ball to recover possession.

As a result, their workload is often not so much that of a sprinter as of an endurance runner. Given this new tactical landscape, it is a marvel that there are still those who manage, thanks either to their athleticism or sheer nous, to find their spots in the opposition’s defence again and again.

Some Aspects of a centre forward

The first thing to notice about the centre forward or bona fide no 9 is that you could not imagine them playing in any other position: They can never be the best supporting actor. If an elite football team is a Hollywood production, then this individual’s face is the brightest on the billboard (this is especially easy to imagine in the case of Edinson Cavani, who is so handsome that it is almost comical).

Asking Zlatan to play on the wing would be like telling Jack Nicholson to use the side entrance instead of the red carpet. You just don’t do it.

However, this does not mean world class centre forwards cannot operate there. Look at Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o Ivorian Didier Drogba. Argentina’s Sergio Aguero. Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu, Uruguayan Luiz Suarez, most of them operated from the wings as inside centre forwards at some stages in their career.

The question that is left is, so how then do we scout or identify a world class Centre forward before taking them into training?

This brings us to the idea of Player Profiles of a world class centre forward.

Player Profile: Centre Forward e.g Samuel Eto’o

We all know a player’s profile must include their technical, physical, Psychological and tactical mentalities or qualities.


  • Overwhelming desire to score goals
  • Capable of finishing from different angles and distances
  • Ability to finish using various techniques
  • Seeks to receive and hold the ball up when appropriate
  • Combines with teammates
  • Can receive/turn/shoot with minimal touches
  • Comfortable in tight areas with little space
  • Clinical finisher with high chance conversion


  • Mobility
  • Sharp change of direction
  • Acceleration
  • First to the ball upon delivery
  • Use of body to shield/protect the ball
  • Capable of competing in the air
  • Stamina
  • Nutrition and lifestyle


  • Ability to create space where little exists
  • Individual mobility to disrupt and disorganize defences
  • Recognizes when to push high or play between the lines
  • Presses individually and as part of a unit/team
  • Constantly provides an option for teammates to play forward to
  • Makes forward runs to provide depth in attack . Creates chances for teammates
  • Provides a focal point for teammates to play off


  • Determined to make a difference in every game
  • Anticipates service/delivery, and opposition mistakes
  • Recognises pressing triggers
  • Willing to sacrifice for the team with running off the ball
  • Vision to create chances for others
  • Confidence in own ball striking and finishing
  • Doesn’t dwell on missed chances/mistakes
  • Capable of improvisation to unlock defences

MUST READ: Football Remodeled: The Basics of Scouting


As a scout, just try following all the aforementioned qualities of a world class centre forward and you are very sure to give birth to the next Samuel Eto’o Robert Lewandowski, Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Nwankwo Kanu, Sergio Aguero, Luiz Suarez, or the likes of youngsters like Nigeria and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Norway and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland etc.

As a football talent willing to improve yourself as a centre Forward to catch the eyes of scouts, follow our aforementioned qualities and the rest will be history.


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