30 lucky AFCAT members had the wonderful opportunity to visit the impressive Melbourne City Football Academy at Bundoora on Friday April 21st to watch ex England team manager, Roy Hodgson, conducting a training session with the Melbourne City Youth squad. Roy spent 90 minutes on a very wet Melbourne evening putting the young players through a training session with the focus on defensive responsibilities. Afterwards, he then very kindly gave the coaches present 30 minutes inside the Academy to have a debrief from his session and offer members the opportunity to a Q and A session . With a coach of the calibre of Roy Hodgson, with his wealth of experience and knowledge, this was an amazing opportunity for AFCAT members to pose coaching question and hear his views on many topics.
What a great night this was and thanks must go first to Roy for his time- over 2 hours- to see him in action. Also a big thank you to Melbourne City for the access to their wonderful Academy facility to view this session and to Dave Richardson, from the English FA, who was good enough to give AFCAT the contact with Roy to enable this to happen.
The pick of the stories, from my point of view, he told us about during the Q and A session, was the one when he was working on one of the many Technical Study Groups he was seconded onto during major UEFA and FIFA events.
During this particular tournament, Roy was working alongside the famous Dutch coach, Rinus Michels, who was the coach given the credit for introducing the concept of 'Total Football' that became the style of play of the magnificient Dutch squad of the 70s. Roy said that during one of their many conversations a question was posed about how would a team coach cope with the situation of chasing a game against a team who had had little possession but were winning the game and holding on against a more dominant team. Roy said he had assumed Michels' would have replied that he would continue to play with the "Total Football' concept in scoring the vital goal required but was taken aback with the answer. What Michels' indicated is something all coaches should hear!! Michels apparently said something like " I always have a big tall striker on the bench as a substitute and if needed for the last 10 minutes, I then have the option of bringing him on and changing our style to launching balls into the opponents defensive third and having the big guy create problems allowing us possible opportunities of either scoring with direct play or winning second balls dropped in and around the box." In other words, have a Plan B!!!! Reminds me of the story that Bobby Robson told on the UEFA Crisis Management DVD when he suggested that when tactics and the game plan is not working do not take off a midfield player and put on another midfielder; do not take off a central striker and put on another central striker; or take off a right winger and put on another right winger- as coach you have to CHANGE IT. Go to an extra defender, put on an extra striker, do something different!!!