At the Playing Style of a player, the playing style of a players is indicated via scores on a range of different Player Roles. In total, SciSports identified 22 Player Roles. Below an overview of the definition of each of the 22 roles.

Line Keeper

-> Jan Oblak, David De Gea

This keeper has only one goal, keeping a clean sheet. He excels at shot stopping, eliminating threats from crosses and quickly recovers after blocking a shot. He rules the 6 yard box. His weaknesses can be ball skills, covering the defensive line and reading the game. When in possession, he plays a simple passing game, reducing his on-ball time to a minimum.

Sweeper Keeper

-> Alisson, Pierluigi Gollini, Edwin van der Sar

This type of keeper functions as a sweeper behind the defensive line and therefore positions himself higher up the pitch. In the defensive phase he sweeps up through balls and excels in one on one situations.

Ball Playing Keeper

-> Ederson, Marc-André ter Stegen

This type of keeper has good on the ball skills and can provide his teammates with high accuracy passes, even reaching the wingers when pressure is intense. In the build-up he can be used to outnumber the opposing offensive line when his defence is put under pressure.

Defensive Back

-> César Azpilicueta, Nacho Monreal

Main focus on defensive duties, preventing crosses into the box and through balls cutting the defensive line. A defensive back is characterized by good agility and acceleration. Can keep on harassing his direct opponent and has a superb tackle.

Wing Back

-> Jordi Alba, Kieran Trippier, Roberto Carlos

The wing back has the same defensive duties as the defensive back. However, in the attacking phase he also provides width to the midfield, by overlapping runs, he has a good dribble and frequently supplies the attack with crosses from outside the box. Wing backs are often compensated defensively by a 3 at the back defensive line or a defensive midfielder dropping between the two centre backs.

Inverted Wing Back

-> Robin Gosens, Antonio Candreva, Dani Alves

The inverted wing back has similar duties as the wing back, however, when attacking he tends to cut inside, running into space and attempts to shoot from the edge of the box from time to time.


-> Virgil van Dijk, Felipe, Jaap Stam

This type of defender is mainly used to mark and get into duels with the opposing striker. Second to that he eliminates the aerial threat from long balls. Most of these defenders exceed the height of 1.90m and are physically strong. Due to their posture these defenders tend to be slow on the first meters and can appear somewhat clumsy.

Ball Playing Defender

-> Aymeric Laporte, Toby Alderweireld, Ronald Koeman

The ball playing defender is a defender with excellent passing, on the ball and dribbling skills, combined with vision in the build-up. He can provide his midfielders with short fast passes opening up play and has a pin-point long ball to cut through the opposing defensive line when needed.

Ball Winning Defender

-> José Giménez, Bastos

This type of defender excels in intercepting passes and through balls due to his excellent positioning and reading of the game. He has good acceleration and tackling skills and provides his defensive line with cover, especially useful when playing with a high defensive line. This defender tends to be a little smaller in posture and can therefore be somewhat weaker in aerial duels.

Ball Winning Midfielder

-> Casemiro, Fabinho, Claude Makélélé

The ball winning midfielder is mainly tasked with gaining possession. When the opponent has possession, this player is actively and aggressively defending by closing down opponents and cutting off pass supply lines. This player is a master in disturbing the build-up of the opposing team, occasionally making strategic fouls so his team can reorganize. When in possession or after gaining possession, this player plays a simple passing game. A player in this role heavily relies on his endurance and game intelligence.

Holding Midfielder

-> Julian Weigl, Morgan Schneiderlin, Xabi Alonso

The holding midfielder is tasked with protecting the defensive line. When the opponent is in possession, this player defends passively, keeps the defensive line compact, reduces space in front of the defence and shadows the opposite attacking midfielders. In possession, this player dictates the pace of the game. This role requires mostly game intelligence and strength.

Deep Lying Playmaker

-> Sergio Busquets, Toni Kroos, Andrea Pirlo

The deep lying playmaker is tasked with dictating the pace of the game, creating chances and exploiting the space in front of his team's defense. This player has excellent vision and timing, is technically gifted and has accurate passing skills to potentially cover longer distances as well. Hence, this player is rather focused on build-up than defense. He heavily relies on his technical ability and game intelligence.

Box-to-Box Midfielder

-> Georginio Wijnaldum, Blaise Matuidi, Yaya Touré

The box-to-box is a more dynamic midfielder, whose main focus is on excellent positioning, both defensively and offensively. When not in possession, he concentrates on breaking up play and guarding the defensive line. When in possession, this player dribbles forward passing the ball to players higher up the pitch and often arrives late in the opposite box to create a chance. This player heavily relies on endurance.

Advanced Playmaker

-> Kevin De Bruyne, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Baggio

The advanced playmaker is the prime creator of the team, occupying space between the opposite midfield and defensive line. This player is technically skilled, has a good passing range, can hold up a ball and has excellent vision and timing. He relies on his technical ability and game intelligence to put other players in good scoring positions by pinpointing passes and perfectly timed through balls.

Wide Playmaker

-> Ángel Di Maria, Riyad Mahrez

A wide playmaker utilizes the space on the flanks and in the half spaces. He has excellent vision and passing skills and is able to cut inside and dribble with the ball, opening up space for other players. A wide playmaker often is the creative outlet of a team and is very able to create chances for other players.

Classic Winger

-> Lucas Vázquez, Adama Traoré, Ryan Giggs

The classic winger provides width and depth to a team. He possesses excellent dribbling skills, has a good acceleration and high top speed and prefers to beat his opponent by knocking the ball past him and utilizing his pace. The classic winger prefers to stay near the touch-line and tries to put strikers (most often a target man) into a scoring position by crossing the ball into the opposite box.

Inside Forward

-> Mohammed Salah, Heung-min Son, Arjen Robben

The inside forward is characterized by his ability to cut inside and create opportunities for himself (the player’s strongest foot is opposite to the flank he is playing on) or his teammates. He possesses the technical and dribbling skills and a good acceleration to beat a defender in one-on-one duels.

Shadow Striker

-> Thomas Müller, Dele Alli, Dennis Bergkamp

A technically skilled player with good passing range and confident in possession. His main focus is to occupy the space between the opposing defense and midfield by roaming from his position and to create chances for teammates. Additionally, the shadow striker is also very capable of finishing and long distance shooting.

Target Man

-> Christian Benteke, Luuk de Jong, Didier Drogba

The target man is a physically strong player, capable of holding on to the ball when under pressure and able to lay off passes to teammates in better positions. The target man is excellent at offensive headers. A good player to use in combination with classic wingers or when playing long balls to play out of pressure or when applying a direct or even one-route passing style.


-> Harry Kane, Olivier Giroud, Filippo Inzaghi

A striker with excellent timing, positioning and finishing skills (a specialist in shooting from close range) and has the ability to exploit the small pockets of space within the penalty box, often escaping from the attention of the defenders. Most top finishers are rather selfish and will strongly prefer attempting to score above passing the ball to teammates in (better) scoring positions.

Mobile Striker

-> Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé

A striker that benefits from the space behind the opposing defensive line. Often reached with long balls from central defenders or defense splitting through balls from creative midfielders. The mobile striker is often a highly technical and dynamic player, who distinguishes himself in one-on-one duels with a last defender or goalkeeper. A mobile striker is often used to exploit fast transition phases from defense to offense.

Pressing Forward

-> Diego Costa, Joshua King

A striker who is used in teams adopting a high pressing system. This player will try to pressure the opposing central defenders, disrupting the build-up and forcing defenders to play a long ball or pass the ball back to the goalkeeper. In possession, this player is able to hold-up play and can both create chances for teammates or himself. This player has high stamina and excellent physique.

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