Rehan Mirza on Front Two combinations

by Rehan Mirza (UEFA B License coach, Notts County FC Centre of Excellence)


This is an excellent practice to encourage movement, ball technique and quick passing. I used this practice with 3 different teams I coached during the last 2 weeks and it doesn’t get boring at all.

This practise is within a grid measuring 10 x 10 yards. You will need 4 players for this practice and 2 footballs. 1 player is surrounded by 3 other players.

Below is the starting position of the practice. Number 4 plays the ball to number 5, whilst simultaneously, 2 plays the ball to 3 to run onto a return pass. This encourages quick one touch passing from number 3.

The practice is continued in an anti-clockwise movement in order to create constant rotation from all players. After a minute, you can change the middle player with another. I have provided this practice in the video link to help understand its objective.

With the same outcomes in mind above, we can now apply the practice in a game situation as below. With the varied formation of the modern game, there is still no reason why the game cannot be played with 2 attacking players. They can play together either horizontally, vertically, or even both. More case than always though, one drops and one advances. They can rotate this method during the game.

As the left sided midfield player (7) has the ball, he intends to play a ball to the forward number 9. Number 9 drops a few yards to receive the ball, but instead dummies the ball and leaves it for number 10.

Upon doing the dummy, number 9 quickly moves towards goal with expected one touch pass from number 10. This creates quick movement, quick decision making, and a crucial first time pass into space by number 10.

Let us analyse this same scenario in a game situation. As number 7 has the ball out wide, notice how both forwards (9 & 10) are being marked out by the 2 red centre backs (4 and 5). Both forwards on this occasion need to work together in order to create space to run in behind both centre backs.

As number 7 attempts to play the ball, number 9 drops into a deeper position. Assuming he will get this ball, his marker (number 4) also drops to challenge. The ball is dummied by number 9, in order for number 10 to receive the pass instead. Number 9 must make a quick movement towards goal in order to have a head start towards goal on his marker (number 4). Number 10 now has a good option to play the ball behind into space (as he has also made an initial movement away from his marker – number 5).

Now, there are a variety of options. Of course, both forwards could further work together to create other combinations in order to score.

I coached this same game related situation to an adult team and they scored from the same practice. So, I know this works. I have also attached a video to understand how the movement of these players work. Do feel free to comment.