Tactical Awareness should be the first thing post basic ball skills(pass, dribble and shot) which player should be apt at, especially in professional level. But I have seen players who simply lack these all even at top top level(read EPL). Tactical Awareness from some website: Tactical insight(awareness) incorporates the anticipation, reading and execution of certain clues that happen during possession and non-possession of that ball. In Attack - Player not in possession: 1) Makes themselves available for the ball, could be diagonal or a crossover run 2) understands when to offer close support and when to stay away 3) Recognizes timing to execute "take overs" and "overlaps" In Attack - Player in possession: 1) Shows good peripheral vision, recognizing the correct time to switch the ball 2) Shows good penetrating vision, allowing them to see and utilize players further down the field 3) Understand the correct time to play direct or keep possession and shield 4) Sees opportunities to play "combination patterns" In Defense - with the desire to regain possession of the ball, players should understand: 1) When to step in to intercept the pass 2) When to mark the opponent tight in order to eliminate a passing opportunity for the opposing team 3) When, where, and how (posture) to tackle 4) When to contain your opponent and force them in a specific direction. Is this simply ignored, giving more importance to other skills, or players basically lack the heart to compliment the brain.