Winning without wingers: Is it possible?

Chesterfield boss John Sheridan talks FFT through using your full-backs in attacking scenarios

“Having pace on the wings is obviously great, but it’s not the be-all and end-all – particularly in modern football.

You can still have success by playing narrow, overloading the midfield and keeping possession of the ball in central areas.

More after the break

The full-backs are very important too, because if the wide midfielders do lack pace they will probably tuck in a bit more to allow the right-backs and left-backs greater freedom to get forward.

When I played for the Republic of Ireland under Jack Charlton we had Ray Houghton on the right and Steve Staunton on the left, with myself, Roy Keane and Andy Townsend in the middle.

Ray and Steve were obviously very good players but neither was particularly quick, and they weren’t the sort of widemen that were going to go past players.

Jack overcame that by getting people to join the strikers from central areas – that meant we always posed a threat.

That worked really well for us during the 1994 World Cup, and it worked well because those guys were clever footballers; the sort of players that instinctively knew where to stand to make things difficult for the opposition.

Very often, the opposition full-backs didn’t know whether to come out and mark them or stay in their position. Good players can do that: they can create that confusion.”

Dos and don’ts after you’ve just scored

Sheridan on handling that post-goal period

1 Do hammer home your advantage
There’s no better time to take it to the opposition than when you’ve got them on the back foot. After scoring your confidence is up, you’re feeling good and you have to make that pay.

2 Don’t be too gung-ho
You want to be on the front foot but don’t over-commit, as you don’t want to concede straight after scoring. There’s nothing worse.

3 Don’t switch off
When I was at Sheffield Wednesday we had some top players that really knew how to defend, like Nigel Pearson and Nigel Worthington. If you have players like that it’s perhaps easier to sit back and soak up some pressure as they should help you remain organised – but don’t switch off.

4 Do keep the ball
From the re-start it’s really just a case of wanting to get the ball back, getting back possession and creating more chances.

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