Football manager describes the advanced forward’s main duty as being to lead the line and look to spearhead attacking moves. The advanced forward is the focal point of attacking moves, and he is required to both score and create goals. His secondary duty is to chase down misplaced through balls or clearances from deep, win possession and lay off passes or crosses to his teammates.
The advanced forward is what most modern strikers are, they will mainly focus on getting on the scoresheet, but they are more than willing to lay off passes to their teammates in better positions, and to also chase down long balls from defence and midfield when the team is under pressure.
The main difference between the advanced forward and a poacher is that the advanced forward also takes part in the build up play as the team tries to find space in the final third, unlike the poacher who will largely stay anonymous as he tries to find space in behind the opposition’s backline.
This isn’t to say that the advanced forward will not make those kinds of run in behind the defence. He will regularly make them, but he chooses his moments, preferring to also get involved in creating space for others, while the poacher only thinks about getting the goals by himself.
Think of Bamford at Leeds United or Ollie Watkins at Aston Villa. They both spearhead the attack of their respective clubs, being central in most of their team’s attacking moves, while also being available to chase down the occasional long ball from deep.
Leeds United play a more pressing style that might push Bamford towards being more of a pressing forward, but he very much possesses the attributes of an advanced forward.
In attack, both Watkins and Bamford will also try to play in the inside forwards or inverted wingers whenever possible, creating the opportunity for the wide players to take long shots on goal, while out of possession they will press with the team to win the ball back as soon as possible, depending on the team’s instructions.
The advanced forward can also be used with success when paired with a striking partner. Since the advanced forward primarily focuses on leading the line, you will need his partner to mostly drop deep in possession to prevent the two of them from operating in the same spaces. A deep lying forward, a false 9, complete forward or a target man can work well with the advanced forward.
Attributes Required For An Advanced Forward In FM
It goes without saying that the advanced forward needs to be comfortable putting the ball at the back of the net. Therefore, finishing, technique, composure, anticipation and off the ball movement need to be exceptional. Aim for these attributes to be at least 15 if you are managing a club in the top five leagues.
Dribbling, first touch, passing and vision attributes come into play when the advanced forward is taking part in the build up phase of the game. The advanced forward will occasionally move into the channels and will need to pick the right kind of pass for his teammates in better positions.
The physical attributes, especially pace and acceleration, are also crucial in this role, as the advanced forward is expected to chase long balls, get at the end of through balls and also close down the defenders to win the ball back as soon as possible.
High acceleration is always more important than pure top speed, as most of the time the striker only needs to get a foot in front the defender to take a shot, which is often possible when he has better acceleration.
Player Traits Suitable For An Advanced Forward In FM
The following player traits will make the advanced forward to be more effective in his role;
- Likes to beat offside trap – A striker who is always looking to break in behind the defence is a nightmare for the defence to deal with. His decision-making, pace and acceleration will then determine how successful his runs are.
- Plays one-twos – Playing one-twos with either his striking partner or attacking midfielder increases the tempo at which the team is playing at and upsets the opposition’s backline
- Moves into channels – Moving into the channels gives the opposition’s centre backs a headache as they can either follow him creating space for the wide players to take advantage of, or they can let him be, giving the advanced forward space to pick out teammates in better positions.
Bad Player Traits For The Advanced Forward In FM
The following player traits are unsuitable for a striker playing as an advanced forward;
- Comes deep to get ball – The advanced forward is expected to chase long balls and clearances from the defence when the team is under pressure. If he drops back with the team, they will lack an outlet to ease the pressure of constantly being under attack.
- Likes ball played into feet – The advanced should be looking to make runs so that he can be found with through balls. This player trait is more suitable to strikers whose roles demand they come short like the deep lying forward, false 9 or a complete forward on support duty
- Plays with back to goal – This player trait is suitable for strikers whose role demand they hold up play for either their striking partner or for the runners from midfield and wide positions to get into better positions. It is suitable for physically strong players who play as a target man or in a deep lying forward role.
FM Tactic With An Advanced Forward
The key to having an advanced forward excel in a particular tactic is to ensure he has enough supply of chances, either from the wing, central areas or a combination of both.
In the image above, I have paired the advanced forward, with a deep lying forward and a shadow striker in behind them.
The shadow striker, despite being in the attacking midfield position, will consistently make runs into the box as he feeds on the balls laid onto him by the deep lying forward.
The deep lying forward will play in both the advanced forward and the shadow striker, then make late runs into the box to meet cutbacks or crosses from the wing backs.
The advanced forward on the other hand will also from time to time drift into the wide areas, from where he will then try to find the late runs of the shadow striker and the deep lying forward.
In midfield, the box to box midfielder will also try to break into the final third to add another body in attack, especially against weak sides where he will not shoulder much defensive work.
The wing backs, as expected in narrow systems, will provide the necessary width and try to stretch the opposition.