|Roy Hodgson's philosophy, as seen in his UEFA tactical briefings|
|Roy Hodgson's studious approach to the game will be tested at the highest level when he becomes England manager.|
|Image from Google.co.uk|
Here, Sportsmail unveils some of the secrets of Hodgson's 35-year managerial career from a series of tactical sessions he contributed to UEFA’s study centre.
On playing 4-4-2... The major strength of the system is the back four, because the defensive unit covers the entire width of the pitch. It also gives options to get players forward, especially full backs. I would almost exclusively always look to play with a back four.
The two central midfield players are defensively minded, but they must also be skilful. With the 2006 Italian World Cup-winning team, they had Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso in the centre, with Francesco Totti dropping in.
That can create problems because the system needs a second striker, even if his position is ‘lapsed’.
Even with the 2006 Italian team, despite their success, they were often trying to find one man, Luca Toni, in a crowded penalty area.
On playing 4-3-3... The main benefit is the three central midfielders. When Chelsea were at their best under Jose Mourinho, they had Claude Makelele and he would say: ‘Don’t worry boys, you go ahead, we’re OK, I’m covering.’
If you play with wingers, as they did with Arjen Robben and Damien Duff, then you have the advantage of real wingers, but the major problem is isolating the lone striker.
If Robben beat his man, got a wonderful cross into the danger area, who is going to attack the ball? When the ball is lost, the wingers immediately came back to protect the midfield. The 4-3-3 could arguably be called 4-5-1.
On playing 3-5-2... The benefit is you are well covered in the middle, but the problem is out wide. The best team I have seen use this system is England under Terry Venables when Tony Adams, Gary Neville and Stuart Pearce played in the ‘three’ and Paul Ince was stationed just in front of them.
The problem with the system defensively is that generally it uses three centre backs and they don’t want to move out of their comfort zone — they don’t do so well when they are faced with Cristiano Ronaldo dribbling at them out wide.
ASHTON'S VERDICT: Likely he will go with 4-4-2.
GOOD FOR: John Terry, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson, Scott Parker.
BAD FOR: Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard.
CHASING THE GAME
On losing with 10 minutes to go... It’s not as straightforward as just banging it in there. What we have to do is get that ball in the penalty area with quality, in to good players’ feet to win penalties or turn with the ball.
If you don’t have those players, then you go for the big man, the Peter Crouch kind of goal against Trinidad & Tobago at the 2006 World Cup. It is a useful weapon. If the opposition score a wonder goal from 40 yards you should not change everything and start slinging some balls into the penalty area.
On retrieving a losing situation... It is a question of assessing risks. You could go gung-ho, but a good team will deal with that and pick you off on the counter-attack.
The problem for coaches is when to take enormous risks. When do we put a third striker on and weaken the midfield? I spoke to Rinus Michels when he was at Cologne and he was a great believer in possession football but there were times when he threw away all his principles to stick two big guys up front.
GOOD FOR: Peter Crouch, strikers still on the bench: Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge.
BAD FOR: Theo Walcott, Ashley Young, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Aaron Lennon.
On defending a lead... Matches are won and lost in a tiny area inside the penalty box and you don’t want lots of balls there. If you start defending deeply, then the ball will come into the penalty area more.
Most teams want to start defending maybe 10 yards in front of the penalty area. The best way to win a match is to score another, then the opposition have to take enormous risks.
Milan, Liverpool, Arsenal and Barcelona have all done well in the Champions League over the past few years and you could not call them defensively minded.
GOOD FOR: Joe Hart.
BAD FOR: Clumsy defenders, such as Glen Johnson.
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