England... Norwich City in disguise?

England... Norwich City in disguise?

Another three days of hope awaits us in the 2018 World Cup and I am so pleased and relived as England won and progressed to to the quarters in yet another nail biter and hopefully the penalties have laid a few ghosts to rest, time will tell. 

There appears to be a quiet revolution going on with our national teams. I have followed the games involving the youngsters who have gone on to win recent competitions at various age levels and most recently the Under 21 Toulon winning tournament this summer. All levels are playing with the same format and style and it is one which appears to have lots of similarity with Norwich City's way of playing.

Three centre halves are being used, an arrangement that was used in the middle part of last season for the Canaries. The ball is played from the back at every opportunity with the goalkeeper and back line only launching the ball when options are exhausted. The defenders are expected to make passes and often in tight situations. The wing backs are asked to overlap, make crosses and provide an attacking threat.

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The midfield has holding players such as Henderson who tracks back, links play and occasionally will attempt to thread the ball. There are midfielders who are creative, possess an attacking threat to ultimately plan to join up with the Number 10 who supports the loan striker, ex Norwich City loanee, Harry Kane whenever they can.

Against Columbia, England made a purposeful start and controlled the first 20 minutes with a high possession percentage and positive corner count, before running out of steam and then getting pushed back. The England players looked well versed in their roles, extremely well organised and instilled in the art of being patient, not panicking or getting ruffled. Does this sound familiar to you?

For me, it sums up so many of last seasons performances at Carrow Road last season.

A key difference might of course be the skill levels involved to carry out the practice. Some Norwich City players make a few too many mistakes which cost goals, Kyle Walker played a short pass on the half way line which led to a breakaway and great chance from the Columbians shooting over the bar. Maybe some Canaries are not always taking responsibility to shape the game and can fade from it in spells and place pressure on their colleagues.

The major skill required to play this style is the ability and responsibility to unlock defences with creativity and pace and then being able to take the chance when it arrives. Let's hope this will improve in Daniel Farke’s second season in charge of the boys in Yellow and Green.

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