England Football Online
Contact Us Page Last Updated 23 February 2010

England Tactics



Football, like other team sports, is a game of time and space.  Time and space are both limitations and resources.  Tactics are the plan or scheme of play by which a team seeks to convert time and space from limitations that confine into resources to be exploited.  


Before World War II, England did not have a manager or coach.  The players, selected by a Football Association committee, gathered a day or two before the match, had a run and perhaps a kick about in training, then took to the pitch and got on with it.  There was very little, if any, discussion about how they would play.  There are those who claim these pre-War England teams had no tactics.  They are wrong.  The game cannot be played without some tactics, however simple they may be.  In fact, the England team had tactics.  They were outmoded, rigid and unchanging tactics, but nonetheless, they were tactics. 


Perhaps the greatest problem the English national team must overcome is the manner in which football is played in the English Premiership.  Nearly all England's players are drawn from the Premiership--in recent years only one or two players have been based abroad--and so the Premiership is, as a practical matter, the national side's training ground.  The football played there is notorious for its fast-paced, direct style, often characterised by many long balls.  Some call it kick and run football, but perhaps kick and rush football is more accurate.  It is more spontaneous and less deliberate than Continental European football.  The consequence is that it is less accommodating to both tactics and technique than football as it is played in most of the rest of the world.  And, as many English clubs have found to their cost in European competition, it does not serve well in international play.