02-Jan-2018 13:31:54 | Guardian
The last Englishman to win the European Golden Shoe talks about how strikers have changed, Harry Kane’s improvement and his own managerial ambitions
By Sean Cole for The Set Pieces, part of the Guardian Sport Network
There are no sure things in football but Kevin Phillips came pretty close to guaranteeing goals wherever he went, scoring 282 in his 20 years as a professional. Putting the ball in the net may look simple but even the finest strikers struggle to explain the art of goalscoring. It’s often spoken of in terms of instinct, a sixth sense for where the ball might land. Having spent his whole career scoring goals, Phillips is now trying to teach others how it’s done in his role as a first team coach at Derby County – although he admits there is no magic formula.
“I have many debates about whether you can coach instinct,” says Phillips. “I’m a big believer that you can get better at it but when you look at the strikers down the years in the Premier League – Owen, Fowler, Cole, Shearer – a lot of their goals were scored on instinct. People like Thierry Henry had the gift of picking the ball up deep and taking players on and scoring wonder goals, whereas those other players were in the right place at the right time. For me, that’s instinct.
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