In the second example, Crawley Town look to finish an attack within the Leeds United penalty area, with Crawley's centre-forward, Ashley Nadesan, looking to work an opportunity to get a strike off at goal. Leeds United centre-back, Liam Cooper, is engaged in a 1v1 duel with Nadesan, who manages to get a shot off at goal, which is subsequently blocked by Cooper.
Watch the following video to see how the chances in both of the examples mentioned above were created, and how quickly these situations can occur.
Why we need to focus on 1v1 defending Put simply, it’s a key part of the game and can help your side minimise conceding goalscoring opportunities against the opposition.
By delving into the topic through game-related practices, you can help prepare your players and develop them for what’s to come when they move through the age groups.
Working on 1v1 defending, as early as you deem it appropriate with your players, can give them key skills that they can use later on in their journey.
The final positional destination of developing footballers is uncertain, as no one knows for sure what position players will eventually go on to play in. This trend has been reflected within our England national teams across a number of years.
“Our current [England national teams] defenders have often played in more forward positions within their development journey and then have evolved into being a defender in their late youth development and professional development years” highlights Sulley.
So, if players are given an all-round education, any future transition will be easier to make.
These skills can also help players adapt to a playing philosophy. If we take the way the England national teams play for example, 1v1 defending helps delay, deny and dictate opposition attacks, a key part of the out of possession strategy.
Similarly, these skills often get tested due to the way our England teams play.
“The out of possession England DNA affords opponents opportunities to counter-attack because it aims to dominate possession and territory in most games, alongside promoting defending within a compact narrow shape, which then naturally concedes space within wide areas, leading to increased crossing opportunities for the opposition,” states Sulley.
"Teams who have outstanding 1v1 defenders can also facilitate a more aggressive pressing strategy,” he added.
If you’re looking to work on 1v1 defending with your players when football returns, these sessions could help: