How to keep possession: Protect the ball

Want to hang on to the ball in the muck and nettles of midfield? Then get your arms up and fend off would-be tacklers, says Arsenal's pocket-sized pass master, Jack Wilshere

Gazza was great at it and Wilshere has shown glimpses of it. An ability to evade a challenge with a purposeful first touch, explosive acceleration and deceptively powerful upper body strength.

While well practised technique is paramount, the importance of physical strength should not be underestimated - especially if you're small, according to Arsenal's rising star.

More after the break

"If the opponent is coming at you from behind, you have to protect the ball – that’s why upper body strength is very important," Wilshere told FFT.

"You have to be aware of the players around you, and use your arms and strength to push yourself away from challenges."

Arsenal are often derided for their lack of physicality, but as Wilshere explains in this video, physicality is central to the Gunners' brand of possession football.

Also see:
Jack Wilshere: How to keep possession
Run the midfield: Jack Wilshere
How to keep possession: Perfect your first touch
How to keep possession: Be forward-thinking
How to keep possession: Stay on the move
How to keep possession: Work on your shape
How to keep possession: Alter the point of attack

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