Every time we move on to a new phase in life, we leave some of the past behind. Football is no different. Full backs are more attacking than ever, defensive lines are higher, keepers act like sweepers, pressing and counter pressing have come into play, I could go on and on about how much the game has evolved in the past decade.As the game has evolved, many elements of of the past are phased out. Some of them make a comeback to relevance while some do not and become extinct as a result.Here is a look at 5 positions that are slowly losing relevance due to varying reasons and may soon become extinct:
The poacher is a player who is there in the team with the sole aim to score goals. He has no defensive responsibilities and contributes next to nothing in the build-up phase. He is always on the shoulder of the last defender, aiming to get in behind and score goals. The poacher specialized in scoring all types of goals and had excellent off the ball movement, his teammates knew that if they created even half a chance, it would end up in the back of the net.
There have been many players in the past like Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Filipo Inzaghi, Ruud van Nistelrooy among others who scored goals galore playing as poachers. Inzaghi was a great example of a player who came alive in the box. An innate ability to be in the right place at the right time, coupled with off the ball movement and great finishing skills meant that Inzaghi was as valuable to Milan as a silky creator like Clarence Seedorf and Inzaghi became one of the most revered strikers in Europe when he was in his prime.
The same was true of others like Owen, Fowler and Nistelrooy. You give them a sniff, they score. Times are different now though, a forward is required to contribute in the build up phase with good link up play, have good hold up play for knock downs and he is often the first line of defence by pressing the centre backs into giving the ball away. Someone like Karim Benzema is a prime example of a forward who has all these attributes.
The poacher did not have it in him to fulfil all these duties and is being phased out as a result. Javier Hernandez is probably the only true poacher left in the game right now and even he is relegated to playing a bit part role due to preference for a more complete forward.