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Tony Carr: Playing off the target man

The role of the target man has evolved in modern day football. Sure, the traditional job spec remains – being able to hold the ball, bringing team-mates into play, winning headers and making sure the opposition’s defenders don’t get an easy ride.

But they’re no longer just big lumps to hoof the ball up to, they also have to be mobile, technically adept, athletic and tactically astute. Didier Drogba encompasses the 21st century man-tank.

The former Chelsea striker was equally adroit at throwing his weight about in an aerial battle, as he was at receiving a pass into feet and linking the midfield and attack.

Practise playing through your target man with short, sharp, incisive passing and your lone striker will play like more like the Drog than Emile Heskey, says former West Ham United academy director, Tony Carr.

Working with players from the Nike Academy, Carr took FFT through a drill built to improve playing off the target man.

“In most teams you’re going to have a player that plays predominately in a central position who is the fulcrum of the attack,” said Carr.

“The striker who plays this role has to be able to play with his back to goal, have good shielding skills, a good first touch and the ability to knock that ball off with one touch.

“What we tried to do in this situation is condition the practise so that every movement had to come off the striker.”

To see the drill in full flow watch this video.

Tony Carr is head coach for EA SPORTS’ Love Football Play Football campaign, enabling FIFA 12 fans to transfer their gaming skills from their thumbs to their feet. Watch more exclusive tutorials with Tony starring Wayne Rooney and Vincent Kompany

Also see:
Tony Carr: Getting the best out of your widemen
Tony Carr: Hitting a team on the counter-attack
Tony Carr: Finishing from crosses
Tony Carr: Switching play
Tony Carr: Making the killer pass
Tony Carr: Playing out from the back