The modern day player now needs to be an expert in a variety of positions within the team to meet the tactically evolving demands of the game. The players that can find solutions for almost any problems, cope with the ever-changing demands of the game and adapt to the challenges of the opposition are the players that hold most value within a team.

Take a look at the Premier League this year… defenders are now being used anywhere across the back line and midfield. Players like Kyle Walker, Luke Shaw, Kieran Tierney, Dan Burn can all play anywhere across the back line. They can meet the technical and tactical demands of the game in all forms due to their technical and tactical toolkit that they have acquired. Kyle Walker quoted in an interview,  “If the opposition play with a two up-front, my position changes. If they play with a one up-front, my position changes. If they play with a winger cutting off the pass, my position changes” and that City players under Pep “have to adapt more than anyone else on the pitch. That is whether he has to attack more or defend more, he is never in the same position throughout the 90 minutes.” Not to mention that Walker started of as a striker at Sheffield United’s Academy!!

The same can be said for both Midfielders like Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Ngolo Kante, Declan Rice. These players as of recent have displayed high levels of ‘flexibility’ when it comes to their position on the pitch. We have seen Foden play as an 8/10/11 and even false 9 throughout the season depending on the context of the game. If playing in a variety of positions is good enough for a 5x Premier League Winner, then I firmly believe it is something that should be instilled from a very young age.

Forwards like, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, Kylian Mbappe and more are the type of forwards that would play in a variety of attacking positions by moving fluidly during a game, or from game to game with ease. Being able to recognise where the space and best opportunity to punish the other team is what makes them so exciting to watch! 


So, what can you do to become more Football Flexible?

    • Encourage your child or player to explore and experiment in all areas of the pitch
      • Ensure you are being challenged on Match days. Play in a different position and have a different task!
      • Make sure practices are always designed to replicate different scenarios of the game in order to allow players to become comfortable in all situations!
      • Be persistent and stick to the above points.. you will see great LONG TERM development!

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