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Wayne Routledge: How to beat a hatchet man

“I’m a nippy little winger, but whenever I come up against a  physical full-back I get kicked around. What should I do?”
Joe Webb, via email

Wayne Routledge says:

“The only way to get the better of full-backs like that is through good movement. If you go head-to-head with them in a physical battle, you’re going to lose because you aren’t strong enough.

But if you can get into space with nobody near you, it doesn’t matter how big, strong or fast they are – you have the opportunity to do something with the ball.

So the key is to watch what is going on around you before you receive the ball and move accordingly.

Stay out wide and use your speed and awareness to come short to the ball or get into a space that they can’t get into in time.

It’s good to try to turn a big opponent and make it into a straight race. If you can do that, you’re likely to win because they’re less agile.

If they’re about to lose the ball or run into a cul-de-sac, there are little things you can do as well.

You can leave your leg in a certain place, or you can slow up so that a clumsy opponent can touch you in the back and give away a foul.”

Wayne was speaking on behalf of online football forum Rate Your Player. Register at

For more football tips see:
Dealing with the red mist
How to deal with a mouthy player
How to deal with a wind-up merchant
Mikel Arteta: Handling a hatchet man