To see the use of shirt numbers as a base for specific positions in a football team has nothing to do with the game. You do see certain teams and especially in a 4-3-3 environment that numbers are used for different roles, but then those teams are trying to dictate football and generalize the idea on all others.
Often journalists refer to a certain role being placed with a certain number and you have the number 10’s and 9’s the 8’s and 7’s, just a lot of annoying noice.
There are no numbers for positions in learning litterature of football and where numbers are used in basic describing different systems you play in, 4-3-3, 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, or 3-4-3, not using any shirt numbers. Positions in the game has over they years been in transition, and today we do have a hybrid of names for certain roles.
From time to time journalists and such or some clever men with higher thoughts of themselves introduce new roles in the game, such as the false number 9, what shirt number does that player have?, a number 9 up side down.
One club such as Ajax are refering to shirt numbers as positions, but they are not setting the rules of football and they prefer this, please continue, but to copy this to positions for other teams is totally wrong and meaningless.
Looking back to the days when teams did field players from number 1 to 11, and when subs had numbers above, it was not a system of regularity and everyone looked to have their own use of shirts basically based on which players using the shirts and not the opposite.
Liverpool used to have a special as they had their number 5 in midfield. Most other clubs had their number 5 as their centre back, with number 6 at his side. Liverpool used to field a number 7 as a striker alongside number 9. They did also field a number 11 as a central midfielder and wingers had 10 and 8.
To see James Maddison mentioned as a number 10 or playing in the number 10 role, you start to wonder were that comes from, He is wearing shirt number 10, but sometimes been positioned by Brendan Rodgers out wide. Andy King used to have number 10 at Leicester certainly not playing in the same way as James Maddison does.
Not to say that shirts in some teams can have a special meaning, but at Leicester they do not have any meaning at all and you cannot use those terms for specific roles in football, it is all very confusing and does not make any sense.
As said before shirt numbers are shirt numbers and they are used differently at every club and are more based on what number players like to wear or what number is available than were they are positioned in the team. They do not change shirts anymore either as they have their names on it.
There are of course from the past some thoughts about it with the goalkeeper being number 1, but Argentina in the 1978 World Cup did have an alphabetical order and gave Alonso shirt number 1, but at his club he wore number 10. The full backs used to have 2 to the right and 3 to the left, but for us living in Norway our national team going back had defenders wearing from 2 to 5 with number 5 being the left back, so another use.
Defenders used to have the lower numbers from 2 to 6, with 4 sometimes used in midfield, but as mentioned earlier at Liverpool he was not a midfielder, Phil Thompson used to wear number 4.
The number 10 shirt is of course one very special as some fantastic players used this number and in South America this is an iconic shirt and often used by an important offensive player in the team. Pele and Diego Maradona both were number 10. In the 1958 World Cup final Sweden did not field a player number 10, so they might have other ideas about the importance of that shirt.
Basically some people have an idea of what a shirt number should be in relation to positions based on historical thoughts about players using that specific shirt, such as Pele and Maradona being 10’s, Bobby Moore having number 6, and then taking it out of dimention making that the ultimate number of a playmaker or sweeper role. Johan Cruyff used to play with shirt number 14, Gerd Muller used 13 in the national team.
Please stop the use of numbers when refering to postions on the field, the numbers are used to seperate each player and to be able to easy identify and single out each one better, you can play in what position you like with any shirt number you like. The position has no value or is no identification of a number. The number has changed with players and are in fact just symbolic and in a way very confusing as we said earlier every team or nation have their numbers used as they like and in no way based on where the player is playing on the field, and today absolutely not.
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