Skip to main content

Ashley Young: Outmuscle your marker

“I’m a quick, tricky winger, but I always get knocked off the ball. What can I do to boost my strength out on the pitch?”
Alan Goldrick, via email

Ashley Young says:

“You need to improve how you hold off defenders. The key is keeping yourself between your opponent and the ball.

If the defender is coming to close you down, stay side-on, put your arm out to palm them off and make sure your knees are low. This will give you a low centre of gravity.

You also want to make sure your feet are planted not in a straight line, but at a 45-degree angle. The better your stance, the more chance you have of holding them off.

From this position you can play a one-two around them, lay it off to a team-mate and then make a  run or try to beat them with a trick.

When you’re in a one vs one situation in the channel you need upper body strength to shrug off a defender, and if you’re chasing a pass down the wing you need power to go shoulder to shoulder with an opponent.

This kind of strength comes from working hard in the gym. You can do press-ups, pull-ups and work with dumbbells. But you don’t want to be top-heavy – you also have to work on your lower body and core so that you’re balanced.

Core strength is very important as it helps with everything – strength in the tackle, springing off your right and left foot to compete in an aerial challenge, balance on your standing foot when shooting, and power in your striking leg.

If we’ve got a Saturday game I’ll do a core session twice a week. You have to do the work during the week so you’re ready for the weekend.”

Lucozade Sport is the Official Sports Drink of the Barclays Premier League and works closely with each Premier League club to ensure players are perfectly prepared. Last month, Lucozade Sport gave four Sunday League teams the chance to enjoy this Premier League style treatment at Stamford Bridge for the Lucozade Sport Performance Day. You can see videos from the day

For more football tips see:
Build a stronger core
Desk-jockey fitness
The living room workout
In the gym with Tom Cleverley
Super Mario's fight club workout