Southgate: Lay the perfect offside trap

Ambush a striker's charge on goal with a well drilled offside trap, thanks to tactical tips from Gareth Southgate

Strikers always seem to get in behind our defence. Do you have any advice for catching them offside?
Daniel Kirby, via email

Gareth Southgate says:
As a player and a coach I never encouraged anyone to play an offside trap. What I did was if I saw a forward making a silly run I could read it, but the most important thing is that there is pressure being put on the midfielder who has the ball.

More after the break

If he has time to put his foot on the ball and have a look up then you’ve got a problem.

If you see the forward making the silly run then let him make it, but it’s not always so obvious so I would always prefer to deal with him rather than take a chance with a linesman’s flag.

Most of the teams that I played in I was either the captain or I was a big talker so I tended to try and organise the back four and co-ordinate what we were doing.

For me, whether it was a deep lying midfielder or a forward who drops off, it was vital to put them under pressure.

If they have their head down they can’t see the run of the forward, but if he has time to look up he will be able to make a better pass and make a better decision, which will make it easier for the forward to stay onside.

You also have to be aware of where the rest of your defenders are. If you are a centre back your full backs have to be in front of you otherwise you’re in trouble.

The deepest man has to make the call about playing any offside trap otherwise it won’t work."

Also see:
Playing the offside trap as a full-back: the do's and don'ts
Time your run to perfection

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