Thierry Henry wouldn’t have become one of the best strikers to grace the Premier League if he didn’t have a well-polished talent for finding the net. So he knows a thing or two about scoring goals. In his recent interview with Soccer AM, he revels the secrets and ingredients of being an efficient goal-scorer.
Here are the main points:
On whether you are born with goal-scoring ability or you develop it:
Henry seems to think it’s both. He’s probably right because before he was moved to a more central role under Arsene Wenger, he was basically a winger. His role as a winger was to supply for the strikers. So, in a way he developed into a striker later on in his career.
But there are also naturals who knew one thing only, how to score goals – Alan Shearer, Gabriel Batistuta, Fillpo Inzaghi to name a few.
On should a striker play in a wider position first:
According to Henry the job of the winger is harder than the one of the striker. “Not only you have to beat the full-back one on one, but you have to execute a good cross too.” Henry said.
The positives for going through that process, he thinks, are that by playing in a wider position, a centre forward gains an understanding on how and where to move to make the job of the winger easier. Consequently, he receives more good balls and scores more.
On the three processes of goal-scoring:
According to Henry there are three types of goal-scorers:
1. Instinctive and experiential
This is the one when strikers find it hard to explain how they scored a goal. They just seem to know out of experience or intuition where the goal is and where the defenders are and their direction of movement as their body takes over and does the work for them.
This type of strikers have a touch of natural goal-scoring ability in them. They have basic, animalistic instincts and are often quite efficient poachers.
2. Observing and analyzing
“You look. Picture. Boom. I always say the best camera you can have is your brain.” Henry said.
This is all to do with photographic memory. It’s a bit like chess where you memorise positions. Strikers throw a glimpse and use their photographic memory to imprint the picture of the situation in their mind. Then they analyse it and, hopefully in a fraction of a second, reach a suitable conclusion before they act.
A quick mind is required for this type of process, and as we know, Henry had one. So did Ronaldo.
3. Observing and creating
“Ball is coming but I’m looking [at the defender with my peripheral vision] and while the ball is coming, I’m picturing what I’m about to execute.”
According to Henry this is the best process a striker can have. And it’s hard to disagree considering the amount of creativity it involves. It’s interesting because the ability to create something out of nothing usually falls to playmakers who are players usually placed a bit further back, in midfield. Diego Maradona was one of those types of players – so were Dennis Bergkamp, Zinedine Zidane, Xavi and Henry himself.
Do you think there are other types? Let us know in the comment section.
You can watch Henry's full interview here: