Phil Neville: Make the move from full-back to midfield

“My manager has moved me from full-back into central midfield. Do have you any advice for making the transition?”
Daniel Cappellaro, via Twitter

Phil Neville says:

“My biggest problem was working out my body shape. Sir Alex Ferguson said to me: ‘You need to alter your body position. At full-back you’re virtually playing at 90 degrees, with everything in front of you, but in central midfield you need to be able to open out 180 degrees.’

“We’d work on it in training. I’d have the ball played into me from the right and Sir Alex would be on the opposite wing with a bib. Before I received the pass I’d look over to him and get my body in a position to control the ball and switch play.

“All of a sudden, when a pass came in from the right, I already had a picture in my mind of what was happening on the left. It made playing in midfield so easy.

“Previously I’d always had my shoulders square-on and it took four touches before I’d turned to the left, whereas now it was two-touch: control and pass. It was the best
bit of advice I ever received.

“Every time I played in midfield Sir Alex would say, ‘Remember your head and shoulder movements.’ That was the key.”

For more football tips also see:
Midfield to defence: Making the switch

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