mercoledì 2 maggio 2012

The Decision

England's national team is back to an Englishman after Roy Hodgson was hired by the FA. Hodgson is a veteran coach that had stints with the national teams of Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates, and with clubs in England, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Italy. But what kind of coach FA appointed? Hodgson is a gentleman and a blue-collar worker. Maybe his workouts are boring but he thinks the best coaches just utilize 8-9 different training sessions. "He gets the 11 that he wants on a match-day and he drills everything in that he wants. It's certain drills defensive, certain drills attacking, and we work very hard at it. There are no diagrams. It's all on the pitch with the ball, nothing unopposed. We do a lot of work after every game on analysis, sorting the bad things out, sorting the good things out. It's nice to know what you work hard on works so well. We're two-and-a-half years down the line now, so we're all converted; it's just working on little things now and hoping we can still get better," Fulham player Simon Davis, who worked under Hodgosn, told to Jonathan Wilson. Roy Hodgson is grown at the school of former technical director of the FA Allen Wade, who introduced a new way of thinking about the game. Hodgson's philosophy is abt the same he learned under Wade, based on a number of principles which give you every part of the game as theorized. Wade first theorized the five principles of attacking and defending in football in the The F.A. Guide to Training and Coaching manual. The five attacking principles are penetration, support/depth, mobility, width and creativity/improvisation; the defensive principles are delay, depth, balance, concentration and composure/discipline/patience. Wade introduced the modern English football era favouring pressing, counter-attacks and direct passes. When Hodgson became manager of Swedish side of Halmstad in 1976, Swedish teams utilized a sweeper in a 5-men back line, favouring man--to-man coverage. Hodgson changed team's pattern, introducing Wade's concepts by switching to a 4-4-2 and using zonal marking: "On the first day of the season, 20 newspapers said Halmstads would go down. I’d qualified for my full coaching badge at 23 but that was my first season coaching adults. Halmstads had played a very different type of football to what I wanted, man-to-man across the field, with a libero. From the start it was: ‘Okay, you lads know nothing, this is what we’re going to do," he said. Hogdson likes the 4-4-2 pattern. So the England could have this look.

Pass and move are the keys of Hodgson's play style. He wants two central midfielders protecting the back four and two wings ready to attack the spaces. His team put emphasis on getting the ball into wide areas. But, above all, he likes the four-men back line that also give you, as he said, the option to get the full-backs forward when the chance happens. Every day in training is about team shape. He had success with this formation and method during latest stints. The only mess was at Liverpool, the club more similar to the England job about demands and intensity.  But the work with West Brom and Fulham was amazing. With the WBA, Hodgson employed a 4-4-2 pattern with a lot of short passes and an average pass success of more than 75%. The question is if England’s players would follow Hodgson's instructions and if Hodgson will be able to work out with this type of egos on the dressing room.

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