Do Strikers Play Defense? Everything You Should Know

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Do strikers play defense? If you are a striker, you likely want to know if you can also drop back to defend and help your team from time to time.

Well, you are in the right place to know that.

First thing first, the striker is the most tiring position in soccer and there is a reason for it. This position requires several skills every striker needs to master.

In this article, you are going to find out whether strikers drop back in the defence to help the team or not.

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Do Strikers Play Defense?

In a nutshell, yes, strikers play defense from time to time. Although their main role is to score goals, strikers tend to drop back into the defence to support defenders and prevent the opposing team from scoring, especially when they are leading the score and don’t want the opposition to equalize.

Keep in mind that there are strikers that play in defence the entire game and strikers that play in defence only when they are trying to support their defenders.

Let’s explore both sides.

1-Strikers That Play In Defense The Entire Game

Strikers would play in defence the whole game only if a defender is injured or has been booked and there is no other defender to replace that defender.

In this case, the coach might decide to put a striker or another forward to compensate in this position if they have some defensive skills.

A great example has been seen with Lucas Vazquez from Real Madrid. Vazquez is a winger. But, Zidane and Ancheloti used to play him as a right-back to compensate for the absence of Carvajal.

2-Strikers That Play In Defense Only To Help Defenders In The Game

Strikers would play in defence from time to time in the game only to support defenders.

This often happens when the team has conceded a corner. In this case, strikers tend to drop back to bring a high defensive number.

You have probably seen it a lot in many games.

Even C. Ronaldo drops back to defend from time to time in the game.

This idea of strikers defending in the game from time to time is due to the coach.

Some coaches will ask forwards to defend a lot in the game to support defenders.

But, of course, some strikers don’t have enough energy to attack and defend the entire game. For instance, you will see many fans complaining about Neymar and Messi because they don’t defend.

However, there are advantages and disadvantages of strikers that drop back to defend.

Advantages Of Defending As A Striker

What is finishing in soccer - A player attacking the ball from an opponent

There are a lot of advantages when you are defending as a striker:

1-Helping your team. As I already mentioned early in this article, by dropping back sometimes in the game, you are helping the defenders and bringing that high defensive number that is very important.

2-Modern managers love it. When you are a striker that has good defensive skills and defends a lot in every game, your manager will love it and trust you more. Modern managers prefer strikers that are not just good at scoring but also defending.

3-Fans will appreciate you a lot for that. If you are following many or just a specific team on social media, read the comment section of every post and you will often see fans worshipping forward players that bring a lot in defence. Fans love it when a player gives it all on the pitch for the team. So, if you are a striker that attacks and defends a lot in the game, you will gain fans’ hearts a lot more.

Disadvantages Of Defending As A Striker

There are two main disadvantages of strikers that defend a lot in each game.

1-Making a counterattack is more difficult. If a striker is defending in a corner and his team manages to get back the ball, there can be a counterattack. But, with the striker and other forwards in defence, it can be difficult to lead a proper counter and go to score.

When the defender or the goalie gets the ball from a corner, they always try to play it fast and search for an available forward. But if all forwards are in defence, there won’t be a counter and this could ruin chances to bring danger to the opposing side of the pitch.

2-Some strikers become better at defending than scoring goals. The main purpose of a striker is to score goals. But if a striker spends the entire time defending, they can lose their offensive skills. This happens a lot with players.

If you have already tried to switch a position and try play in a different position for a while, you will notice that you are becoming better at the new position than the original one. So, as a striker, if you defend a lot, you might lose your offensive skills.

Also, when we refer to strikers defending, you should understand that this can also be in the attack.

Strikers Defending In The Attack

We also refer to striker defending in the attack. When the opposing defenders have the ball, the striker and other forwards could press. We refer to this as “Pressing from the front”. This happens based on the tactic and strategy used by the coach.

Pressing from the front is a good strategy and many teams are using it.

Teams like Bayern Munich, Man City and Real Madrid like to combine from the backline with several short passes.

By pressing those teams, you will push them to make mistakes and lose the ball.

But, of course, it is difficult for those teams to lose the ball no matter how high the opposing pressing is.

Final Word

This article was all about whether strikers play defense or not. As you read from the article, yes, strikers play defense sometimes to support the defence and prevent the opposition from equalizing or taking the lead.

Unfortunately, defending as a striker has advantages and disadvantages.

If you are a striker, I would advise you to defend only during a corner kick conceded by your team. Then, get ready for a counterattack that may occur when your team gets the ball.

If you feel that you don’t have enough energy to do that, then let your teammates defend and be in a good position for an eventual counterattack.

I hope you have gained value from this article.

Are you a striker? Do you like to defend? What do you think you need to improve to level up your game? Let me know in the comment section below and I will get back to you ASAP.

You can also read my full article about the striker position in soccer here.

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