LUKAS NMECHA, 22, FORWARD, GERMANY
Scoring the winning goal in the U21 Euro Final is certainly a good way to make a name for yourself. In 20 Germany U21 appearances, Lukas Nmecha has netted 12 times. He also claimed the Alipay Top Scorer Award in the U21 competition.
Although predominately right-footed, Nmecha can shoot using both feet – and strike from distance. On loan for Anderlecht last season, he scored 21 goals in 41 appearances in league and cup competitions. Definitely a player with an eye for goal.
If you want your team to develop this skill, finishing practice is the way to go. Luckily, your players won’t need much persuasion – kids love to score goals. Sure, they can seem a bit chaotic with balls flying around, but it’s an essential part of the game.
When you set up your activity, challenge your players to try shooting with both feet – just like Nmecha. It may be difficult for some, but with time, they could find themselves being able to finish with either foot.
Here are three finishing sessions you could try, or take ideas from, to get you started:
SVEN BOTMAN, 21, DEFENDER, NETHERLANDS At 6ft 4in, Sven Botman already looks like a dominant player in the Dutch backline. He’s very strong in the air, as demonstrated by his headed goal from a corner against Hungary in a 6-1 win.
He also showed good technical skill when passing and building up from the back. Across the four games he played at the Euros, he attempted 324 passes and completed 294 (91%).
Botman is a modern defender. To help your players develop the skills required to become one, try working on positioning, decision-making and getting comfortable on the ball. Playing in midfield could also help. It gives players plenty of opportunities to get on the ball and to pass – experience they can transfer when they play in defence.
In addition to the advice above, the following fundamentals will help you develop skilful players, like those in the U21 Euros.
1. Switch playing positions
Give players the opportunities to experience a range of different positions, roles and formations. They all pose different challenges.
2. Create the right environment
Build an environment where your team are excited to train and play. Psychological safety is a massive part of player development, and it will only support your players on their journey.
3. Offer praise and encouragement
Do not underestimate the power praise can bring your players when they’re trying new things. It will be tough for them, and they may get frustrated, but if you give them time and have a positive outlook, your encouragement can help them keep going.
Article image courtesy of Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images.