Being the perfect partner

You: puzzled striker with mismatched colleagues. Jermain Defoe: expert with the answers

“My two strike partners at my club are totally different: one’s a lanky target man, the other a small, skilful playmaker. Any advice on how I should change my game for each one?”
Owen Ogborn, via email

Jermain Defoe says:
“I have the same situation at Spurs when I sometimes play with Crouchy and other times with Rafa [van der Vaart] – and then there’s Wazza [Rooney] with England.

More after the break

Playing with Crouchy, I know that nine times out of 10, he’s going to win the ball. So my job is to try and read him and predict where the ball might go.

I’ll try to stay quite close and if the ball comes to him at a certain angle, after playing so many matches together I know that he’s likely to flick it on or control and pass it in a certain direction. It’s all about reading what he’s going to do.

When I’m playing with someone smaller like Wazza I know I have to use a lot more movement to make space.

So I’ll make lots of quick movements one way or another, always trying to give him a passing option so I can either play it back to him or run onto goal.

If you’ve both got good movement and do things like coming deep to receive a pass before quickly spinning and running behind the defence, you should score plenty of goals together.”

Also see:
Defoe on the art of striking
Rooney on strike partnerships
Jermain Defoe's six-step guide to striking

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