Boxing is often referred to as 'the sweet science'; a phrase that dates back to the early 19th century, penned by British sportswriter Pierce Egan who oft commented on the 'sweet science of bruising' due to the savagery and methodology exhibited by pugilists.
The predatory yet patient instincts attributed to top-level strikers in football can also be described with the same terminology as, when hearing forwards such as Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool and Javier Hernandez of Manchester United discuss their craft, it can also come across as a sweet science.
'It’s about intuition,' said Hernandez, as quoted by United's official website. With regard to one-on-one situations, Chicharito added: 'You don’t really think about what you’re going to do, it’s just in an instant that you do what you do. When I receive the ball I just look at the ball and the keeper and [choose] which side I wanted to shoot.
'It’s not like when we sit here now and I say ‘I had this option and that option,’ you just do what you do at the time. You do it in even less than a second. It’s a very quick process.'
The ease in which Sturridge has adapted into life at Liverpool, returning his first 20 goals for the club in just 26 appearances, has seen his name mixed into the same conversation as Anfield greats and even Ian Rush believes the Englishman can become a 30-goal per season striker.
Already on eight in the current Premier League campaign to date, Sturridge averages one shot every 27 minutes of domestic action, but believes the foundations for what type of forward you become are made early, drawing inspiration from great players around you and emulating their striking.
'I learned that from Deco,' said Sturridge to the official Liverpool website when discussing his chipped goal struck against West Bromwich Albion during the club's 3-1 victory earlier this month.
'In the past I wouldn't have gone for that; maybe I would have cut back or tried to play someone in, or took a normal shot. But when you feel more comfortable and confident you do try things you maybe wouldn't have done. With the chip I just looked up and thought: 'I'm going to go for it. I learned that one from Deco at Chelsea, where he'd do it a lot in training.
'It's started coming off for me, too, and it's important to try things. Sometimes you have to try these things and play without risk. As a youngster that's how it was: you tried to express yourself out on the pitch as much as you can.
'When I was younger, I liked to watch players who dropped deep and pick the ball up like Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo. It's something I naturally do. I'm still working on my game as much as I can now, on strength and my left, but I'm playing in a position where I can play my natural game. I'm just really happy getting opportunities.'
One of the traits that made Hernandez one of the top prospects in the country when he first arrived in England three years ago was his penalty-box poaching and, to this date, it remains arguably the greatest weapons he can call upon in his impressive attacking armoury.
Just last season, Hernandez was responsible for one goal or assist every 72 minutes of Premier League football. Summarising, he said: 'Sometimes you are lucky and the ball comes to you [and then you react]. Sometimes you know when a ball might come to you.
'For my goal against Chelsea in the 3-2 win [in October 2012] I moved towards the ball because I had an inkling where it would go. But for other goals the ball [comes to you] from rebounds. Every goal is different.
'Some you think a bit more about and others you just react or use your intuition.'
image: © eschipul