Guest Session by David Aznor Chicharro – Athletico Madrid (2007-2011) – Possession

ASC Banner

David Aznor Chicharro – A. Madrid 2007-2011/ Spanish FA

David Aznor Chicharro is UEFA ‘A’ Licence coach in Spain. He has worked for Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid and the Spanish FA. He also runs a coaching Magazine in spain. check it out on:


Sesión de Entrenamiento DAVID AZNAR english-pt1 Sesión de Entrenamiento DAVID AZNAR english-pt2 Sesión de Entrenamiento DAVID AZNAR english-pt3 Sesión de Entrenamiento DAVID AZNAR english-pt4

 For videos from top Professional Academies check out:

Spanish Football Sessions…Manuals and Videos

ASC Banner

In the modern game Spanish football is leading the way in producing players year after year. The Spanish national team have won the last two Euro Championships and the last World Cup. This is due to the way that each team plays a tactical high pressing game defensively, and with a great emphasis on possessing the ball with pace and purpose to penetrate when attacking. It is demonstrated in these training manuals and videos how some of the top spanish clubs train their reserve and 1st teams.

Please take a look at some of the material below….

Note: Manuals are in Spanish…

VILLARREAL- Head Coach Juan Carlos Garrido


Real Madrid Training Sessions Pt1

Real Madrid Training Session Pt2

Real Madrid Training Sessions Pt3

Real Madrid Training Sessions Pt4


FC Barcelona Training Manual

FC Barcelona Training Sessions pt2

ATHLETIC BILBOA – Head Coach Marcelo Bielsa

Athletic Bilboa Training Manual

For more Videos with top Professional Clubs visit:


Why the role of the Defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3 is so Important & the Comparison of Busquets & Song

Here is a diagram of the 4-3-3 (4-1-2-3) and its passing options. There are many teams that use this formation across the world. FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal just to name a few. Each team has a Defensive Midfielder which is vital for the team to function. In this case the Defensive Midfielder is the number 6.

The Role of the Defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3 (4-1-2-3) is vital. They are the catalyst of of the speed of the play either slow (retaining possession) or fast (to penetrate). Their awareness of pressure and to play out of tight spaces is vital to keep the ball to manipulate the play. Their range of passing needs to be excellent and their distance and angles of support are important. They need to have the ability to run with the ball to penetrate the play. They are the link between the back four and the 2 central (attacking) midfielders in front of them. To play the role effectively they need to technically efficient.

Here is a diagram of the defensive midfielders passing options in a 4-3-3:

Defensively the need to be able to read the game to break the opponent down. Forcing opposing players towards pressure are out of play is vital. There energy levels need to be managed effectively to produce this kind of pressure on opponents all game. The have to maintain their positioning and sacrifice themselves for the team. They need to be a leader and communicate throughout.

The physical attributes a Defensive Midfielder needs to have are:

1/ Very Athletic (quick over 5-20 yds)

2/ Strong –  Individual battles and To hold players off the ball to protect.

3/ Aerial ability – Powerful in the air

4/ Agile- To react to the game

Two of the best Defensive Midfielders: Sergio Busquets & Alex Song

Sergio Busquets is regarded as one of the spanish greats. His vision, technical ability, awareness is phenomenal however what Sergio does not have Alex Song Does. Alex Song is in my opinion has been very underrated for what he has done in the 3 years at Arsenal. His awareness, vision, technical ability is up their with the best.

To compare Busquets to Song technically Busquets would win however Song is not that far behind. What makes Alex Song stand out is his ability physically to dominate opponents. He is quick, agile, strong in the tackle, and can read the game. Busquets reads the game very well however he is not quick. Barcelona have lately struggled with pace at the back and in the Defensive Central Midfield Role against Madrid. Song could be that player. Song is good enough technically to be able to posses and penetrate the Barcelona style of play. Barcelona already have Xavi and Iniesta or fabregas to orchestrate the play and maybe they need that bit of physical dominance and speed to support the team defensively?

You cannot take away the brilliance of Busquets and his footballing mind though. He has been one of the main reasons behind Barcelona’s success. Maybe Song will be his cover when Busquets is injured but i believe Song has all the attributes to fill the position and maybe give Barca another option. Both players are versatile (and can play Central Defender) and can fit into Barcelona’s 4-3-3 style of play very easily. Alex song was a great purchase by Barcelona as i feel they need a little more pace when defending against teams like Madrid on the counter attack.

Thanks for reading, you can follow me on twitter: @JHarvCoach

Is England’s Problem – Talent Identification?

Is Englands Problem – Talent Identification?

Recently I watched a video by Rasmus Ankersen about Talent Identification and some of the reasons why top athletes become top athletes in there sport.

When watching it i kept on thinking has england been looking for the wrong players? and have countries like spain been looking at something different. There are so many factors that create top international players however the top athletes have the same kind of characteristics that make them who they are. Rasmus Ankensen reserched into many top sports around the world and why these countries produce the top athletes and came out with 3 things that determine how real talent can reach its full potential. He also went into how it is very easy for coaches to miss the next superstar?

The question i kept on asking myself is how many xavi’s, iniesta’s, pedros, etc have been missed?

Ankersen goes into how performance can quite easily overlook potential. This meaning a strong quick boy who has hit puberty at the age of 13/14 who is more affective in games can stand out by scoring goals and being dominant. While a small player who is a “late developer” but has great vision, sees a pass, can dribble, can get out of tight spaces but physically cannot keep up – gets overlooked.  example: Shawn Wright Philips getting Released by Nottingham forest for being “too small”.

Barcelona’s academy La Masia state that the main characteristics in players is that they are very technical and cognitively sound and are not interested in physical attributes in players at younger ages.

“The main thing that the scouts look for is that the children make decisions differently from everybody else. By this I mean their speed of thought. It is a quickness of mind we look for. Already at 12 or 13 they understand that football is played within a particular style.” P.Guardiola, Ex FC Barcelona Coach

Ankersen also goes onto mention that sometimes players that are super talented early that are both physically dominant and skillful technically and cognitively are called “shouting talent” example Wayne Rooney.

Here are the three main things Ankersen came up with:

1/Great Talent is not necesserily right talent:

Arkersen mentioned that sports clubs use diverse ways to analyze and evaluate player performance. He mentioned that some players in certain tests (physical or cognitive) may not shine but may shine in other areas of the game that they are not getting tested on. The first thing that came to mind was a try out for youth players at clubs and what clubs are testing players on. Are clubs testing on pure speed? Are they testing on physical strength? Are they getting evaluated in non-pressure exercises? What are the coaches looking for in players?

2/What you see is not what you get:

He also went onto how an athletes performance (without the correct training) gets compared to an athletes performance with the correct training. He goes on to saying that too many times an athlete that doesn’t perform to the level of an athlete that has had the correct training gets overlooked on their results then instead of knowing the training history.  For example a player that goes on trial at a club may have the potential to be a world star but does not perform to the level of players who have been coached the correct way. They get judged to early and never get another chance. Do coaches really do their homework on players they are not sure about?

3/Never Overrate Certificates & Never Underrate Character:

Arkersen goes onto mention that an athletes character and mindset is way more important than results on a piece of paper or a medal/certificate. For example players that are performing to a high level scoring goals at a younger age and having success but do not have the mental strength to take their game to the next level, will quickly go down the pecking order. Arkensen goes onto mention that a performance environment should not be designed for comfort but for hard work. This can also relate to too many young players been spoiled. Meaning that a younger players getting offered crazy contracts worth lots of money too early. Does there attitude and hunger for the game get affected? Do the clubs create this player demeanor? Will it keep on happening.

Barcelona are an excellent example of creating players that are humble,

“These guys might have been chosen to be part of Barca but it is humility that earns you respect. We don’t want them to go around talking about huge amounts of money. You can be humbled if your surrounding are, but it’s tough. But take Iniesta – he is not arrogant, he more or less goes unnoticed.” 

Carlos folguera – FC Barcelona Academy Director.

Here is a video on the LA MASIA – FC Barcelona

However i understand that England is trying to do the right thing to produce good players. My recent Q&A with John Peacock suggests that the FA are stepping in the right direction. There are shining examples of excellent academies that are producing top level players such as Southampton Academy. Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are three players that were produced and played on the champions league and International Stage.

Here is a video with Alex Oxlade Chamberlaine of how Southampton FC were patient enough to allow him to fulfill his potential.

Theses are great examples but again i ask myself why isn’t England as a nation producing players of this nature on a regular basis? Is it the premier League World market? or aren’t we just producing top level players to play at this level? If players are good enough why cant they force their way into the top level teams.

To see more on Rasmus Ankersen visit: