Wales striker Kieffer Moore has revealed he has spent a significant amount of time studying players who he feels can help benefit his game – naming Zlatan Ibrahimovic as an example to follow about how to become more than the one-dimensional big man up front.
Moore is set to lead the line for Wales in their World Cup opener against the United States on Monday night, and moved into international duty off the back of a strong run of goalscoring form for Bournemouth in the Premier League.
It’s been Moore’s first year in the top flight of the English pyramid, and quite an achievement to be scoring goals at that level for a player who earlier in his career was balancing working in a gym with playing football.
Moore though admitted he was prepared for the step up, and has spent time studying how to make the most of his stature against top level defenders.
“I wouldn’t say it surprised me. I knew what I going into,” he said on playing in the Premier League.
“I spent years studying the league and looking essentially at what defenders do and don’t like. I knew I had to be of a certain type and [bring] aggression that defenders don’t really like.
“I think in that short space of time of me being in the Premier League I feel like I have improved already. That is what I am about really. I like to keep improving and always think I can learn and do more and I want to more.
“You see players who impose themselves on people and I think it kind of makes it unique.
“You can dominate the person you are coming up against in a certain kind of physical and aggressive way. I like to lean against areas where I think I can have an advantage, and see [if defenders] are not liking stuff I’m doing, I like to play on that.”
Moore though has made a real effort to bring more to his game than just physicality, and shows as such with strong close control and being able to score a variety of goals. Strikers of Moore’s size are a rarer breed at the top of the game today though and he name-dropped Zlatan Ibrahimovic, especially in his earlier career, as an example to follow.
“One that springs to mind is Zlatan,” he said when asked of players he has studied. “You can see the physical prowess he holds and the way he holds himself and his character and the way he plays football.
“I have watched countless videos of virtually every striker worth watching. I like to analyse a lot of other people to see if that can help me.
“I feel like I have learned a whole lot from those videos and understanding what different people do and the ways they go about their game.
“Especially from his early years, you would have probably looked at him and thought he is big and strong, and maybe a one dimensional player. But he is so much more than that and is technically amazing.
“I aspire from that because I didn’t want to be a one dimensional player who can’t move and have the ball to his feet. I wanted to not be so much in the same mould, but I like to watch Zlatan.”
Wales play England on the final group game in Group B in Qatar, and Moore admitted he will have no mixed loyalties ahead of the match despite being born across the bridge.
“I love playing for Wales and it really is the biggest honour of my lives,” he said. “I am happy to put my body on the line and if it means the difference of taking someone down or scoring a goal I will do it every time.
On England, he added. “I can’t wait to knock them out, it would be amazing. There will be no mixed loyalties.”