EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Start your season with a midfield engine

I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but your midfield really is the engine of your team. Your midfielders need the energy and vision to create and drive attacks and the determination and awareness to provide defensive cover. And it’s up to you to equip your players with the skills and technique necessary to cope with the responsibilities that playing in midfield demands.

Your starting point should be to use games that play the ball through midfield, with the emphasis on forward passing rather than passing sideways or back. My favourite two are Explosive in midfield and Attack from deep.

Work on having a player who can control the game when your team has the ball – a ‘go to’ player your team can target with passes. This gives a focus to your midfield in the way that Paul Pogba controlled the game for France in the World Cup Final. I created a game especially for this role called Run games like Paul Pogba, which I use regularly in training.

To make your midfield strong and difficult to penetrate, because your players know how and where to move and press, use Compact your team in midfield.

Finally, to create goal scoring chances from midfield and get the ball into the forward players, use a session called Control the game in midfield to give your team a winning edge.

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