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With too much time on my hands, and reading the comments on the Eustace thread, I started to learn a bit more about players of that era. One thing that struck me, was that most players back then weren’t very tall, well not compared to the players today. 


Peter Springett, for example, was barely 5-10, which was about the average height for a keeper back then. Then there were the centre backs, lots were under 6 foot, I think Gerry Young was 5-9 and a half. I remember Ron Yeats at Liverpool being described as a colossus standing at 6 foot. Though he undoubtably was a rock in that Liverpool defence, battles between centre backs and centre forwards were more of an even tussle 

 

Back then, most sides would employ a 6 foot centre forward so aerial crosses from out wide was very much part of an attacking sides armoury. In modern football, at least in open play, the tactic is less fruitful 

 

Nowadays the average height for a keeper is 6-3, with most centre backs either that, or more. It’s not unusual for those to be supplemented by a defensive midfielder of similar stature. There has been a definite trend towards taller, more athletic players in defensive areas of the team. By contrast though, things seem to have gone the other way when it comes to front players, with strikers tending to be smaller and more mobile.

 

Yes most teams will have a striker of 6 foot or over, in their squad, and although their are few giants like Crouch, and our own Atdhe Nuhiu, the balance is generally in favour of the defenders, when it comes to combating an aerial attack. 


That got me thinking, do we put ourselves at a disadvantage by adopting the tactic of playing two wingers who are instructed to constantly look for the head of Fletcher? Yes Fletcher stands 6 foot, and is certainly no mug in the air, but the odds are overwhelmingly stacked in the favour of the defenders.

 

It all seems a bit archaic to me, playing that way. Anyway I digress, the main point I was making was the disparity in size between the defenders 50 years ago, and defenders in the game today, which is not matched in forward areas

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Posted (edited)

On the contrary I think that unless your players are technically the best in the league your best bet is being physical and solid so you can stay in a game and take opportunities to play to strength. Players might be taller but I don’t think many are as aggressive now. leeds had a centre half  raved about either on loan or they sold him and he looked like a young kid. Players like Fletcher who are a bit old school can take advantage of that.

 

Generally I think you need a mix and not having height and pace in the team cost us under Carlos. That was evident when Brighton came back to Hillsborough with Duffy, Murray and Dunk

Edited by Bluesteel

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It's a good question. There's no right or wrong really the only thing I have noticed is top centre halves have a great footballing IQ. They use their reading of the game to make up for their limitations. Glenn Loovens was a good example of this, never was quick but knew when to drop off and when to use his body to gain an advantage.

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I was surprised when I found out CC was a centre half, he only looked about 5ft 8

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6 minutes ago, Stoop said:

I was surprised when I found out CC was a centre half, he only looked about 5ft 8

 


He probably blagged his way into it

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54 minutes ago, Bluesteel said:

On the contrary I think that unless your players are technically the best in the league your best bet is being physical and solid so you can stay in a game and take opportunities to play to strength. Players might be taller but I don’t think many are as aggressive now. leeds had a centre half  raved about either on loan or they sold him and he looked like a young kid. Players like Fletcher who are a bit old school can take advantage of that.

 

Generally I think you need a mix and not having height and pace in the team cost us under Carlos. That was evident when Brighton came back to Hillsborough with Duffy, Murray and Dunk

I’m not sure, by making that the main thrust of your attack, you are limiting your options Even allowing for defenders being less aggressive, the game itself is less aggressive, it stands to reason, with a giant back five, that form of attack will be less effective. 
I think this development is one of the biggest changes in the game over the last 50 years

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, gurujuan said:

I’m not sure, by making that the main thrust of your attack, you are limiting your options Even allowing for defenders being less aggressive, the game itself is less aggressive, it stands to reason, with a giant back five, that form of attack will be less effective. 
I think this development is one of the biggest changes in the game over the last 50 years


If that’s the case then Brentford and Wednesday of 2015 would’ve gone up and not the teams with a mix. You can’t be one dimensional either way.

 

John Stones is an example where hes good on the ball and the fashionable attributes but ask him to actually defend...

Edited by Bluesteel

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Bluesteel said:


If that’s the case then Brentford and Wednesday of 2015 would’ve gone up and not the teams with a mix 

Only Brighton and Cardiff have had any success playing that way in recent seasons Both of them have now reverted to a three man midfield

Edited by gurujuan

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I prefer a big team. Having a strong spine through the middle of the pitch for me is really important.
 

Look at the good sides to get out this league in recent years and they have a strong spine first and foremost. 

 

Sheff U, Wolves, Newcastle, Brighton, Burnley are some of the recent teams to go up and kick on and absolutely none of them were a soft touch at this level. Fulham who everyone talked about as Barcelona in the Championship they couldn’t play their tippy tappy stuff in the PL and got stuffed every week. 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, gurujuan said:

Only Brighton and Cardiff have had any success playing that way in recent seasons Both of them have now reverted to a three man midfield


Loads of promoted teams have had tall physical players mixed with technicians 

 

Newcastle

wolves

brighton 

Hull

WBA this season 

Burnley

Blades

 

Edited by Bluesteel

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A good big un is better than a good little un   That opens a whole new debate. 

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Keeper & centre-halves defo need lanky shanks. Elsewhere in the team is debatable. 

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3 minutes ago, Bluesteel said:


Loads of promoted teams have had tall physical players mixed with technicians 

Indeed, all the best teams have that mix. 

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Not sure if this is still the case, but don't academy coaches/scouts look to strong physical traits before technical traits when snapping up young players?

 

I know attitudes changes somewhat after the great Spain team of a few years ago with xavi/iniesta etc.

 

But I bet height, strength, speed are still seen as highly sort after traits. Unless you are literally outstandingly brilliant.

 

Is this just an English thing? 

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1 hour ago, trev said:

Not sure if this is still the case, but don't academy coaches/scouts look to strong physical traits before technical traits when snapping up young players?

 

I know attitudes changes somewhat after the great Spain team of a few years ago with xavi/iniesta etc.

 

But I bet height, strength, speed are still seen as highly sort after traits. Unless you are literally outstandingly brilliant.

 

Is this just an English thing? 

 

I remember hearing a premier league team scout [7 or 8 years ago] when asked what he was looking for in players saying something along the lines of "we can teach them technique but we can't teach them to be big or fast"

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1 hour ago, trev said:

Not sure if this is still the case, but don't academy coaches/scouts look to strong physical traits before technical traits when snapping up young players?

 

I know attitudes changes somewhat after the great Spain team of a few years ago with xavi/iniesta etc.

 

But I bet height, strength, speed are still seen as highly sort after traits. Unless you are literally outstandingly brilliant.

 

Is this just an English thing? 

I don't think the English national team is any different physically to other sides so it's not just an English thing. France and Croatia teams were both tall and physical last world cup. 

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10 minutes ago, flo said:

I don't think the English national team is any different physically to other sides so it's not just an English thing. France and Croatia teams were both tall and physical last world cup. 

No you’re right, even the one touch tika taka kings, Barcelona, use a defensive shield built around those giants, Busquets, Pique and Lenglet

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23 minutes ago, gurujuan said:

No you’re right, even the one touch tika taka kings, Barcelona, use a defensive shield built around those giants, Busquets, Pique and Lenglet

But Barcelona haven't had height in attack in many years. I put it down to the brilliance of Messi being able to pretty much dictate any attack they play on the ground and make it work more often than not. 

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3 minutes ago, flo said:

But Barcelona haven't had height in attack in many years. I put it down to the brilliance of Messi being able to pretty much dictate any attack they play on the ground and make it work more often than not. 

Absolutely, and that was the main thrust of the thread, keepers and defenders are now giants, along with a lot of defensive midfielders, but forwards, if anything, have become smaller

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