If you watch football, you would probably know number 9 is usally a striker. And number 7 is usually, like Beckham, a right-side midfielder.
You might also noticed number 11 often plays left midfield, number 6 and 8 in central midfield. And so on.. The picture looks something like this for a 4-4-2 formation:
2 4 5 3 7 6 8 11 9 10
But why? It seems random yet most teams follow this unwritten guideline.
On CFCNet forum today, I found “this explaination”:http://www.cfcnet.co.uk/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=993 which clear things up:
It goes back further than that, pre Hungary v England days, can’t remember year, maybe 1956 when we lost at home 6-3. Teams back then lined up in a 2-3-5 formation.2-Right Back 3-Left Back 4-Right Half 5-Centre Half 6-Left Half 7-Outside Right 8-Inside Right 9-Centre Forward 10-Inside Left 11-Outside Left
After that famous beating numbers and positions adapted to a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-4, the numbers didn’t reflect the position you played in, 9 stayed as a traditional centre forward but should have become left winger in the new formations. But as Harry and Blueblood said they are the modern day positions and numbers we now know.