Definition of Target Man

The striker position in football has seen much evolution over the years of the game. However, one of the classic types of striker that still sees a fair amount of use today is the target man.

What are the duties of the Target Man player position in the sport of football?  Explained.What is a target man? Traditionally, it is a larger player who is less mobile and acts as a "target" for the team to aim for when playing the ball forward. The idea is that the target man is strong and can win headers against the opposing center backs in order to advance the team up the field.

Target men are normally paired up with smaller, quicker forwards in order to get on the end of headers or other passes that the target men play. This can be seen in France's 2018 World Cup victory, where Olivier Giroud played the target man role. Despite not scoring the entire tournament, Giroud complimented the quick finishers of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe in a lethal way.

Then there are players who vary from the traditional target man role. Players like Didier Drogba at Chelsea, who did not play with a second forward. Instead, he was the sole target man in a 4-3-3 and had to adapt. He was not only tall and strong, but had to be mobile and good at passing as well. Meanwhile, players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku share target men's physical abilities, but do not associate themselves with the term (Ibra seeing himself as a complete striker and Lukaku as a poacher).

Despite many dismissing the role as outdated in the days of tiki-taka, it's clear that there's still room for an effective target man in the modern game. They've had to adapt, but that's just part of the beautiful game.