This is a tactical analysis of Tyler Walker’s style of play as a striker. Walker has spent a lot of his Nottingham Forest career on loan, at teams like League Two Mansfield Town and Lincoln City, who were playing in League One last season. Walker could be a useful option for many managers, and can be used within different types of tactics. He is a player that can play out of the box, has good positioning and can take chances when they come. We will have to see if Walker will go on another loan or transfer, or if Nottingham Forest will keep him for the upcoming season to help them achieve their goal of promotion to the EPL. If Tyler Walker stays at Nottingham Forest, he will have to compete with Lewis Grabban and Nuno da Costa, who joined Forest in January this year from Ligue 1 side Strasbourg.
His role in the team
Tyler Walker’s height is 1.78 metres. He is a quick and athletic striker who can take advantage of empty spaces behind the defensive lines. Walker is a striker that has the role of the target man. Walker’s analysis shows that he offers himself deeper in the field and tries to play out of the box. With those kinds of moves, Walker gives his team a kind of flexibility against teams that play with high pressure, because the players at the back know the areas that he moves in and can target him with a long ball. Moreover, his speed gives him an advantage with long balls, as he is the only player that stays higher up the pitch and plays on the last defender’s shoulder.
Walker without the ball
Starting Walker’s scout report when he does not have the ball, we can see that he gets involved in several different tasks. Firstly, Walker is pressing high against the opponent’s players. With that pressure, Walker aids his team in regaining possession of the ball. The high pressure on the goalkeeper leaves no other option but a long ball, which makes a challenge in the midfield area.
The high pressure did not include only the first pass when the goalkeeper was trying to play out of the back and build up the game. Walker was pressing high against the opponent’s centre-backs too. In this way, the opposing team had a tough time putting the ball forward into the middle third of the field. In the picture again, we can see Walker pressing the centre-back who had received a backward pass. In this way, Walker does not leave any other option to him but to play a long ball forward.
When Lincoln City was defending, he was trying to keep the distances between the lines close with a compact shape. This is why, most of the time, the team was defending with ten players behind the ball, with the only player that higher up the pitch being Walker. Walker is a player with good pace, who likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender. For that reason, Lincoln City, as soon as they regained ball possession, were trying to take advantage of his speed and play with direct and long balls from the back to the front.
In the picture below, we can see the long ball that Walker is receiving. That is a direct style of play from Lincoln City, with a quick offensive transition reaction in the counter-attack. Walker is moving on the edge of the offside line, and takes advantage of the free space that the opponent’s defensive line has, due to the high positioning that they had. With Walker’s pace, it was difficult for the centre-backs to catch him up.
Walker is a striker that can play out of the box: he likes to move deep on the field and create free space behind that his teammates can take advantage of. Moreover, Walker moves into the wide areas and tries to deliver the ball from there. His speed allows him to move deep up the field, as he can pass and go very quickly and take a good position in and around the box to receive a pass or a delivery from the wide areas. In the picture below, we can see the areas that Walker likes to play in most during a match.
Walker’s strength as a player is that he can play one touch passes. That gives him and his teammates an advantage, as the defenders cannot position themselves correctly on the field. Moreover, Walker is moving deep up the field, and, because of his speed, he can take up a good position quicker than his marker. The combination of speed and one-touch passes that he can play makes him a tough striker to mark. Moreover, his deep positioning drags the opponent’s defenders out of position, because they try to mark him. In the picture below, we can see Walker playing a head-pass to his teammate, who is moving behind him, taking advantage of the empty space. In this particular phase, Walker is dragging the opponents’ centre-back out of position.
Despite that his ability to keep the ball under pressure is not the best, Walker can be useful and helpful to his team in this part of the game, if he manages to receive the ball without instant pressure from his marker. If that happens, Walker provides valuable time to his teammates to come up higher on the field. This is very important for a striker, as he does not only create and bring more players higher up the field, but also isolates himself amongst the opponent’s defenders without support. Below, there are two pictures of Walker: the first picture is showing Walker being isolated against three opponents.
The second picture is showing how Walker managed to control the ball and the way that he gave time to his teammates to come higher and support him. Walker had three players to choose between to pass the ball to, within a 4-v-4 situation for his team.
Furthermore, Walker likes to move to the wide areas, too. He takes advantage of his speed, and dribbles the opponents’ markers with his pace. One of the most important positioning requirements for the wingers is speed, dribbling and delivery ability. Walker has a great benefit because of his good pace. If the defender does not take up a good position to mark him and goes too tight on him, he has the ability to roll over his shoulder and take advantage of his speed.
Walker moves in and around the box and tries to take the best possible position against his markers. Walker takes a good position and has a good scoring ability, because he scans the space around him before receiving the ball. By scanning the space, Walker does not only check the position of his markers but also the goalkeeper, which gives him a great benefit in finishing the phase before the opponent or goalkeeper comes towards him.
The two pictures below are demonstrating Walker’s scanning ability: we can see how Walker is watching the ball’s route, and the very next second he is scanning the goalkeeper’s position, who is coming out and is trying to stop him before he controls the ball. But Walker, because of his scanning, knows already where the goalkeeper’s position is, and finishes the chance quickly, scoring the goal.
When Walker is not in the box, he tries to move behind the defensive line and take advantage of possible empty spaces, because of the high positioning that the opposing defenders could have. Walker’s speed allows him to move on the shoulder of the last defender at the edge of the offside line. That kind of move can give a great lead to a striker, especially when they have good pace. Strikers can expose the opponents’ defensive line with these kinds of moves, as a long ball could take them into a beneficial position and be an instant threat to the opposing goalkeeper.
When Walker is in the box, he is trying to move in between his markers. He does it by taking a position that is out of the view of one of the two defenders. The other defender that can see him moving in between them has to take the decision either to leave his space or to communicate with his teammate. However, communication in such tight situations can be difficult to achieve. Therefore, Walker tries to benefit from situations like these by positioning himself in areas where his markers have to make a decision on who is going to mark him.
Walker’s weak spot is that he faces some difficulties when he has to receive the ball under instant pressure. Walker has to try to improve that part of the game, as this is something that is going to make him an even more complete striker who could fit into many teams, as managers could use him in different ways tactically, like as a target man, or a false nine. By improving that part of the game, Walker could receive the ball higher and closer up the field, which will give him and his team more chances to approach the opponents’ box. In the picture below, there is an example of Walker receiving the ball ten metres out of the box. In those areas, the pressure is instant and more intensive from the defenders. The centre back has come out of his position to restrict him. By developing this skill more, Walker could take advantage of this situation, and combine with his teammates to approach the box with better prospects.
Tyler Walker is a striker that has characteristics to play in and around the box. He is a player with good pace, good technique and has the ability to scan the area before receiving the ball, which gives him a great advantage against his markers, as he knows his positions before receiving the ball.