WORLD CUP 2014

By John Cartwright

Firstly my overall impression of the 2014 World Cup was ; teams’ needed large numbers of players back to defend and there was little attacking quality to break down these defensive high numbers — so lots of negative passing and ineffective effort in the vast majority of games. Sorry, I can’t accept the ‘pundits’ reasoning that this was the best World Cup ever. Did they have their eyes shut before, or were they in their nappies when greatness was truly displayed in previous World Cup competitions? ‘Hype’ not honesty ‘ruled the roost’ in commentaries as money and greed deflected Media opinions from actual to hypothetical.

England and Italy in action at Euro 2012

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Tackling

By John Cartwright

All competitive team sports’ have two fundamental parts; ball retention (attacking) and ball regaining (defending). A great deal of interest regarding attacking aspects of the game can be found in coaching books, magazines, DVD’s as well as on TV and radio etc. that covers both individual and team situations; less interest seems to be given to defending and to the skill of Tackling in particular. This disregard of a vital part of defensive play has meant generations of young players developing without having acquired the skills of such an important aspect of the game.

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Heading

By John Cartwright

In my book, ‘FOOTBALL FOR THE BRAVE’, I have stated that Heading is — the football perfectionists ‘blind spot’. There is considerable interest and practises regarding other aspects of the game, but Heading seems, along with Tackling, the forgotten skills of the game. It was obvious in the latest Euro Club Championship final between Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid, that both teams were leaders in aerial domination in both attacking and defending situations.  Barcelona, with their high possession playing style have been deficient in developing variations and Heading has been a serious weakness for them in all areas of the field.

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Overloading Through the Field

By John Cartwright

Throughout football here we accept ‘fight’ situations in all areas of the field either because of the use of systems of play that cancel each other out or because of poor game understanding; games are played with scant awareness or appreciation of overloading in attacking/defending situations.

Our game stands on a pre-set playing structure in which movement beyond their normal area of involvement by players is not used enough. Yes, there is movement down flank areas by ‘wing-backs’ but little else of note beyond an occasional individual offering.

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THE SPACE IN THE SKY

By John Cartwright

My father took me to see my second pro. football match …….it was Leyton Orient v Notts. County in about 1947. He had taken me to watch a famous player of those days… TOMMY LAWTON, an English international centre forward. “Watch him son, he’ll score with his head today,” my father said. Sure enough I can remember him scoring a majestic headed goal to win a game that was fiercely contested on a muddy surface.

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TURN THE BODY – TURN THE BALL – TURN THE GAME

By John Cartwright

I find one of the most infuriating aspects of the British game is our inability to turn the ball away from tight situations towards open space. Time after time, at all levels of our game, the ball is returned ‘back from whence it came’! Our players, especially our back players, when under the slightest pressure from closing opponents, simply ‘hoof’ the ball towards the nearest corner —‘Direct Play’ often leading to unnecessary ball loss.

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Passing Speeds

By John Cartwright

As I have said so often ..….. “our game is played from first to last whistle at a fast and furious pace”. All aspects of play tend towards speed and aggression with guile and gentility as limited features. This tendency towards a ‘hurry-up’ game –style is most obvious with passing the ball where refinement and style is excluded in favour of ‘bash the ball’ methods. Our tactical preference of longer types of passing often creates too much distance between back, middle and forward positions causing a lack of closer support situations. When passing the ball over all distances and in most situations we use speed/fast rather than slow/soft as a preferred method of delivery. The result so often is loss of possession followed by a renewed ‘fight’ to recover the ball…. only to give it away cheaply again…..and so our inglorious game ‘battles’ on.

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