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Football Positions Explained in The UK

Football Player Positions in The UK Explained

Football Positions Explained in The UK: Knowing Your Place On The FieldWho Plays Where?

OK, it’s your first ever football training session

Or you really need to know what the football players numbers and roles are

And your not quite sure what the positions mean and where they even are supposed to play

Well let me help you with that, and get the Football Positions Explained in The UK

If you know all the different positions in football then you will be able to understand how the whole team gels together and work as one

Well, they are supposed to but it doesn’t always work out like that.

According to BBC Sport, These are the positions but it all depends on what formation the manager wants to play

And it doesn’t really matter about the football positions numbers, it matters about the position they play!

Here Are The Football Positions Explained in The UK

GoalKeeperFootball goalkeeper ederson moraes going for the save

This should be quite an obvious one but if it’s not let me explain

The GoalKeepers job is to protect your team’s goals so that the opposition can’t score, they are the only position that can use their hands to touch the ball and only in the marked out area around the goals

They can come out of the marked out area but it only leaves your goals vulnerable for the opposition to score so it’s best if they stay where they are

It can be a lonely job but somebody has got to do it.

DefendersFootball defender adrien silva tackling an attacker from the opposition

This position explains itself really, they will be the players that are closest to your own goals to stop the opposition from getting too close to your goals and scoring

They are trained in a number of football skills and one of them is to be able to retrieve the ball from the attacking opposition and get it away from your own half of the field which will reduce the risk of conceding a goal

This position tends to have the more aggressive players of the game.

Different Types of Defender Roles

  • Full Back – Their main job is to prevent the opposition from scoring and need to be strong both in the air and great with tackling. Should be positioned near the front of the goals
  • Wing Back – Similar to the full-backs role, they also need to be a lot fitter as they will be running up and down the sidelines both defending and attacking. Should be positioned on either side of the goal area
  • Central Defender – Normally the biggest and the strongest of the defenders they need to be able to act like a defender as well as think like a midfielder. Should be positioned in front of their own goals and cover the field up to the midfielders
  • Sweeper – These players are used as a second line of defence just behind the central defenders. They need to be aggressive in their role as a defender and also be able to bring the ball out of danger and away from their goal area. Should be positioned in front of the goal area just behind the central defenders

MidfieldersA Football midfielder taking the ball up field

The hardest job on the field to have apart from the referee

They need to be both defenders and attackers as well as controlling the middle of the field and be able to think quick on their feet

All footballers need to be fit but the midfielder needs to be here there and everywhere so their fitness has to be superb

Players who take on the midfield role also need to be good at strategy play and be able to read every minute o the game.

Different Types of Midfield Roles

  • Central Midfielders – The workhorses of the team. They will be the most active players on the field in both attacking and defending. They need to be super fit to pretty much cover the whole of the middle of the football pitch. Depending on the roles given to them by the manager, Central Midfielders will either play an attacking role or a defending role. Should be positioned anywhere around the centre of the whole field.
  • Wingers/Wide Midfielders – Normally the fastest players on the pitch, they need to be out wide whilst attacking to be able to send the ball up to the forwards who will hopefully score a goal, or if their team is defending they will have to cover the sidelines and also be prepared to come in-field to defend. Should be positioned on the right and left-hand side of the pitch at the midfield area.

ForwardsFootball striker steve morrison taking a shot at goal with 2 defenders trying to tackle him

Many people call these players the “glory hunters” of the team but if you get to play in this position then, of course, you will be scoring most of the goal

Once the ball has gone upfield to the forwards then their job is to get that ball in the oppositions’ goal but they also have to deal with defenders and a GoalKeeper before they can do that

They need to work in unison with the midfield players so they can get a goal and get the win

They need to be skilful and great finishers.

Different Types of Forward Roles

  • Striker or Centre Forward – Here is who scores 90% of all football goals and will be the most skilful players on the field and be able to determine where the ball is going to be coming from the midfielders. Should be positioned near or in front of the opposition’s goal area
  • Behind The Strikers – These players will score sometimes but are mainly there for making opportunities for the strikers and also need to be great tacklers to take the ball off the oppositions defenders. Should be positioned in front of the oppositions goal area just behind the strikers.

SubstitutesThe linesman making a substitution at the FA Carlsberg vase final

These players will be on the bench at every football game in case of injuries to players already on the pitch

You will normally see 5 substitutes per team for most matches but the teams are only allowed to use 3 substitutions per match

There will be a mixture of different positions on the bench as there is no way of knowing which player will get injured so its best to have all positions covered

If you don’t have substitutes and you get an injury within the team then you will be a player down and will have a huge disadvantage against the opposition

And There Are The Football Player Positions Quickly Explained

One Last Thing

You might want to play football in a certain position when you first start out but to know exactly what position suits your style of play best

Why not try them all out and get a feel and understanding of each position

It will also give you more technique, skills, and knowledge that you wouldn’t get if you just stuck at one position so good luck with your new-found passion for football and I hope you enjoy it wherever you play.

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Have any Questions or Comments?

4 comments on “Football Positions Explained in The UK


Hi Shwni!
Haha, I’m from the US so I naturally was looking for a different shaped “football” on your page, but I’m glad it wasn’t American football! Football makes so much more sense though being a name for soccer by the way. This site is great!! I’m an athletic trainer and although we know a lot about many sports, if you didn’t grow up around the sport…it can be a little confusing. Prime example, we didn’t have soccer as an organized sport at our school so aside from 1 week in gym class, I don’t know much about it. Today, I work at a school that has a strong soccer program, and it’s hard to watch when you don’t understand the game. I’ll be referencing your site in the future when I have questions! I’ll be sure to pass on to my friends in the athletic training world too.



Yes, it is confusing if I mention football in any of my posts and you are not the first to have thought it was the American version but in Britain we call it football and don’t have the American version here so its quite awkward as to what to call it.


Hey Shwni, thanks for the article. You are totally right when saying that you should try every position out! This is the most important thing for kids to be enthusiastic about playing football.


Exactly, they need to know where they play their best on the field so try every position I say


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