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Chris Wilder’s Attacking Centre Backs PDF

Chris Wilder’s Attacking Centre Backs

Tactical systems using three central defenders is not a new idea.

1-3-5-2 is widely popular all over the world and successfully used by clubs and national teams.

Rather than emergence of totally new systems of play, what happens more and more often is adjusting and putting own stamp on it as a team.

Sheffield United has its’ own way of playing and been very successful using it. In 2016/17 season the Blades have secured promotion from League 1.

Two seasons later, in 2018/2019 campaign they have achieved an automatic promotion to Premier League after coming second in Championship.

Since then, Sheffield United has been successful on the highest level, currently sitting 7th, level points and game in hand behind Wolves and two points behind and game in hand to Manchester United.


All of this success came under management of Chris Wilder, lifelong fan and former Blades player.

Their preferred formation is 1-3-5-2 which utilises many strengths their players possess.


Although there is so many more aspects to their style of play, one thing that stands out is how they utilise their centre backs in attacking play.

This has been one of the main things that has helped them to be a little bit different and achieve good outcomes.

This is a different interpretation of traditional 1-3-5-2 roles and responsibilities and just shows that it is not the formation that matters the most.


Formation is only a starting point and a point of reference for players to start from.

It is what you do and how you move within that structure to utilise individual and collective strengths.

Utilising centre backs in attack the way Sheffield United proposes helps to create overloads in wide areas, penetrate in behind, create good numbers in the box as well as vary delivery of crosses.


This book will explore couple of aspects in utilising centre backs in attacking play using Sheffield United as an example.

It is important to remember though that it is only a very narrow aspect and one of many facets of the way they play.

None of the systems and tactics is important if your players chose to not work hard and be committed. This is the basis of everything and something that should be given and not something that needs extra praise and recognition.


If your players have desire and work ethic as well as buy in what you propose as a coach then everything else, including tactical plan, style of play etc. becomes easier to implement and be successful!


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