“I play at right-back for my team, but I’m really struggling this season. I keep diving into challenges and getting beaten. What can I do to stop this?”
Robin Delph, via email
More after the break
Danny Simpson says:
“The worst thing a defender can do is dive in, because it puts you out of the game and your team-mates at risk. You might as well not be there.
Don’t give your opponent too much room or space; you want to be as close as possible. If you stand square-on, the winger can go either way, leaving you with no chance.
It’s important to be side-on and stay low, making sure you’re moving your feet quickly. In this situation I’d be planting my right foot back and jockeying backwards.
If you feint to tackle, it can cause your opponent to miscontrol it. You should be focusing on the ball and not the player’s feet.
If you are holding him up and not diving in, it gives a team-mate a chance to come and double up on him, making it a 2-v-1 situation. You’re looking for him to pass it backwards or for your team to win the ball back.
Go to him and try to usher him out as wide and as far away from goal as possible. If you keep them out wide you’ll either end up with a throw-in or win the ball back.”
For more football tips see:
Ashley Cole: How to handle every opponent
Ryan Bertrand: Be ready for any challenge
Aymeric Laporte: The art of being a modern defender
Chris Smalling: How to be the complete defender