I am coach of an Under-13 girls team and we’ve just lost a player due to a broken leg. We’ll have to play with 10 for a while, so can you give some guidance?

Ask Dave

Dave says

First of all, we wish your player a speedy recovery – breaking a leg at such a young age is extremely unfortunate. In terms of what happens now, I’m sure you’ll quickly find a replacement given the popularity of the girls’ game in the US. But in the meantime, why not try to turn this into a positive for your other players? Split the game into two halves – shape with and without the ball – and create a siege mentality in the group, accepting and inviting the challenge to see how the team responds. If you play more defensive, try 4-4-1 when on the back foot.

When counter-attacking or in possession, try a 4-3-2 or even a 3-3-3 formation, and use the opportunity to show the girls how important it is to press the ball. They might find it tough being a player down, but overall, they will learn a lot from it!

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