In Football soccer, a 4-3-3 formation there will be 3 central midfielders and 3 forwards. This also applies for variations such as 3-5-2 and 4-5-1 etc. In this I will be using a standard 4-4-2 layout due to it's common use.
In the goal, there is a goalkeeper. This player has the responsibility of stopping the opposition from getting goals. These players can use their hands inside the 18-yard box only. Good examples are Petr Cech, Iker Casillas, Edwin Van Der Sar and Pepe Reina.
In front of the goalkeeper, there are 2 center backs. These players along with the holding/defensive midfielder are responsible for most of the defensive work in the team. Good examples are John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Jaime Carragher, Puyol and Nemanja Vidic.
To the left and right of the centre backs, there are the right and left fullbacks. They are responsible for stopping opposition wingers and are also relied on to join the attack. Good examples are Bosingwa, Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy, Daniel Alves, Sergio Ramos, Patrice Evra and Bacary Sagna.
In front of the center backs are 2 central midfielders. Usually one of the players is more defensive and one more offensive, one mobile and one a bit more static and one highly creative the other more safe in their play. Good examples are Michael Essien, Michael Ballack, Guti, Fernando Gago, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi, Claude Makelele, Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso, Tim Cahill and Frank Lampard.
To the respective left and right of the central midfielders are a left and right midfielder or winger.These players are usually the creative drive in a 4-4-2 set-up and are very fast and skilful and are mainly used to put in crosses and passes for the two strikers. These players also score roughly 5-10 goals a season along giving with 10-20 assists. Good examples include Ashley Young, Joe Cole, Quaresma, Jesus Navas, Joaquin Sanchez. There is a new position blossoming as well with wide strikers now operating in teams. These players score just as many goals as assists. Good examples of these players include Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Florent Malouda and Alessandro Del Piero.
And now to the strikers. These players are typically the most famous players on the pitch because they generally score the most goals. In recent times players like Thierry Henry have revolutionized the position by playing the ball on the ground and drifting deeper in the field so they can dribble the ball, I call these players mobile strikers. More and more of these players are emerging; they are typically fast, good dribblers and excellent finishers. Some of these players are Wayne Rooney, Nicolas Anelka, Torres, Karim Benzema, Samuel Eto'o, Raul and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. These players are now more prevalent then the typical "target-man" of old. Most managers using a 4-4-2 will pair a target man with a mobile striker to capitalize on both the speed of the mobile striker and the power of the target man. Target men are generally 6 foot plus and have very good heading ability, great positioning, good strength and excellent finishing. Good examples include Didier Drogba, Emile Heskey, Dimitar Berbatov, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mark Viduka.
Certain positions change with different tactics and formations and it is completely up to the manager to decide on what the team uses. This is just a general guide and for that reason I used only the most common formation.Sweeper (SW)The sweeper should have a good understanding of the game and be a leader on the field. He controls the defense, always staying behind the fullbacks.
Stopper (ST) The stopper is responsible for marking the center forward or center midfielder of the other team. He also has an important offensive part of distributing the ball to the midfielders.
Left/Right Backs (LB/RB) In the flatback formation, they mark the opponent's forwards and are the only real defenders. These players have to be dependable and willing to give up any kind of offensive play.
Left/Right Defenders (LD/RD) they mark the opponent's forwards. In the flatback version, or in more advanced teams these players are used to carry the ball up the outside with the midfielders, allowing more effective crossing.
Left/Right Midfielders (LM/RM) They are in charge for the crosses in the offense, and they usually carry the ball up the field, since they have more room than the center midfielders.
Left/Right Center midfielders (LC/RC) distribute the ball among the offenders and try to stop or slow down opposing plays before they get to the defensive line. Good passing and ball handling skills are needed to fill this position. Forwards - In these very basic formations, the forwards do no special work. Runs to the corners need to be only occasional, and dropping back to the midfield shouldn't be the primary way of getting the ball. This position is actually self explanatory.
If you are talking about American football then the positions are
Quarter Back: One of the most important players of the team, the ones that throw passes and also the game maker.
Line-Man:Protects or tries to protect the QB
Running Back: The one that runs with the ball usually towards the touchdown line.
Wide Reciever: They are the catchers that catch the QB's passes.
Kicker: They just kick the ball in after the touchdown or when trying to get three points.
THESE ARE ONLY THE MAIN POSITIONS
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