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Football Glossary: Fox in the box

In this football language post for learners of English we look at the football clichefox in the box‘. You can also read the transcript for this post below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at

Fox in the Box

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A fox in the box is a phrase used to describe a goalscorer who scores lots of goals inside the penalty area (or maybe even the six yard box). Maybe we use the word fox to describe this kind of player as these animals are known to be crafty or clever in the way they do things? A fox in the box player does not usually score beautiful goals but instead is someone who can find some space in the penalty area to score – maybe by poking the ball home or by being in the right place at the right time. Another way of describing this kind of player is to say that they are deadly in front of goal as they ‘kill’ opponents with their goals (they rarely miss), while the phrase goal poacher is another expression used to describe this kind of goal scorer. Famous players that have been described as a fox in the box include England striker Gary Lineker; Italy’s number 9, Filippo Inzaghi and West Germany’s World Cup winner Gerd Müller.

  • Example: Wenger: Jeffers is our fox in the box (Evening Standard, 14 June 2001)
  • Example: Rasmussen: I’m a fox in the box. Morten Rasmussen has told Celtic fans the Parkhead club have signed an old-fashioned penalty box striker.

Related Vocabulary

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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