Big strikers take a lot of abuse from opposition managers from time to time. Various clubs get labelled ‘long-ball’ sides and it is probably fair to say it perhaps isn’t the most attractive way to play the game. However, a big and powerful striker can be a real asset for a team – with that in mind, here is a rundown of my personal favourite target men in England (in no particular order).
Bobby Zamora, Fulham
Zamora has at times been one of the most mocked strikers in the Premier League. Last season he couldn’t seem to find the target at all but this season the Fulham man has really found his shooting boots and won over his critics. In some ways Zamora is a bit of a unique player, he can occasionally show some sublime touches and his link up play is outstanding. Zamora is still being linked with a possible England call-up, personally I think that ship may have sailed but if he continues to perform the way he has been you never know….
Kevin Davies, Bolton
If (as is most likely) you’ve never read anything of mine before you should probably know I’m a Bolton fan. Granted, that may make me a little biased but I’ve watched Davies for a number of years now and his work rate really is second to none. Defenders don’t like to play against the big man who always makes a nuisance of himself. He wins crucial free-kicks, creates chances with his link up play and holds the ball up expertly for the Wanderers. The only thing that lets Davies down is his scoring record, but he is still a threat in front of goal and has scored some vital goals during his years at the Reebok.
Peter Crouch, Tottenham Hotspur
I probably don’t need to write a great deal about Crouch but I’ll run through why I rate him anyway. In fairness to the Spurs striker – he does not look like a footballer, but underneath that awkward façade lies a very accomplished player. He has a decent scoring record, his sheer height makes him a massive aerial threat, a decent first touch and my lord does that boy know how to pop out the robot.
Didier Drogba, Chelsea
Drogba? A Target man? True, the Chelsea man is so much more than just a big man up front but when it comes down to it he can play this role exceptionally well. Of the established top four, the Blues are probably the most likely to resort to a bit of route one football and when you’ve got a powerhouse like the Ivorian hitman leading the line – why not?
John Carew, Aston Villa
Villa are blessed with having two great target men on their books in Carew and Emile Heskey but in my opinion the Norwegian is the best of the two. For a big player he has a fantastic touch and some great skills, as well as a superb strike. Like all great target men Carew’s sheer size is a problem for his opponents and I reckon he is just about the better player when compared with team-mate Heskey.