Stand and deliver

Help your midfielders become tough-tackling ball winners with a session that teaches them the skills they need to protect the back four. This session replicates situations where midfielders can find themselves outnumbered and a timely tackle is needed to stop the move in its tracks. Terrier-like action and non-stop running make this a touch session but a good one to give your midfielders

Set up

Set up an area of 40×30 yards. We are using 12 players in this session. You will need balls, bibs, cones and goals.

How to play it

In each half of the pitch there are three attackers and two midfielders. The midfielders are defending the goal but what you are actually practising for them is defending in front of a back four. Here they must try to stop the three attackers from getting into goal scoring positions by chasing them down and pressing them to force a mistake in order to win the ball.


Teams will often find they are under pressure in midfield when an attack has broken down and they need a tough tackler to win the ball back. A strong player can make a huge difference when protecting the defence, making it much harder for opposition players to make and impact.

1. The session starts with a kick from the goalkeeper into the attacking trio
2. The two guarding midfield players must communicate to make it hard for the attackers to create space

3. Here the attacker has been caught on the ball. A tackle wins it, allowing the pass upfield
4. The guarding midfielders at the other end must try and stop the attacker but a sliding tackle misses and the shot beats the keeper

5. A kick out from the keeper results in an attack down the wing but the cross is met by one of the midfielders who heads the danger away

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