Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

How QPR’s fast central defender saves the team

Twice my team broke clear of the defence at the weekend and twice a fast defender caught up and dispossed my attacker before he could shoot. Fast defenders are priceless in youth soccer, speed is something you cannot ignore when choosing the positions of your players in matches.

I was reminded of the Portsmouth v QPR game last month in the English Championship when Portsmouth should have taken all three points.

When the speedy John Utaka broke free at the end of the game the QPR fans must have been thinking that it was all over. 1-0 down in the 87th minute QPR’s unbeaten run was about to come to an end.

In an entertaining game the QPR defence were a man down after the dismissal of Matthew Connolly who conceded the penalty which had put Portsmouth ahead. Neil Warnock the QPR manager had thrown on all three substitutes in an attempt to save the game – the team had to keep their defensive shape though because Portsmouth were quick on the break.

On this occasion the defence was undone by a through ball from Liam Lawrence. Utaka ran past a turning Kyle Walker, a young defender onloan from Tottenham HOtspur. But Walker turned and accelerated, catching a surprised Utaka, and won the ball off the striker then played a lovely pass to a midfielder up the pitch.

It was a brilliant bit of defending and one which changed the game because QPR scored a late, late penalty to draw the game. Without that fantastic defensive run QPR would have tasted their first defeat of the season. Warnock’s team has been outstanding in defence with 10 clean sheets already this season and Walker is one of the reasons for that.


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