Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Jack Grealish is frustrating

I’m growing increasingly frustrated with Jack Grealish’s unwillingness to attempt to beat his man to the corner. Every attempt for club and country is a cut infield, either to draw a foul or pass back. The only way they can progress through the left-hand side is if James Maddison makes a run beyond Grealish.

This forces England to play exclusively through the middle of the pitch, to start and end possessions, which leads to fewer chances because generating chances exclusively through the middle is difficult without an outlet wide to attack the corner.

Figure 1.1 - Jack Grealish plays the ball first time to James Maddison.
Figure 1.2 - James Maddison receives the ball in space unmarked.
Figure 2.1 - James Maddison makes the run to the open space when Jack Grealish receives the ball.

Most wingers would take a touch to the left and immediately run at the opposition full-back, then either dribble around them or play Maddison in. Jack Grealish’s default is to play back, the safe pass to circulate.

Figure 2.2 - Jack Grealish drives inside, ignoring James Maddison.
Figure 2.3 - Jack Grealish passes to Lewis Dunk.
Figure 2.4 - Jack Grealish continues his run into space in the left half-space.

Once Grealish passes back, they should look to immediately play the ball back to him because he often finds himself in positive positions in the half-space.

Figure 3.1 - Jack Grealish bullies his man off the ball.

Jack Grealish is fantastic in the tackle. He’s very strong and knows how to time a hip or time a leg so he can win 50-50s like this one.

Figure 3.2 - Jack Grealish turns and plays Ollie Watkins in.
Figure 3.4 - Ollie Watkins receives the ball in space and runs at goal.

Until Jack Grealish works up the confidence to attempt some progressive carries to the corner, a runner from the half-space to the space out wide is the only way England and Manchester City will be able to progress the ball and create chances on the left side.

The fewer touches Grealish takes, the better.

You need variety to keep the defender guessing. Take it up the line once or twice, when you take it inside, there will be more space. Currently Grealish only takes it inside so he is predictable and easy to stop.

Match: England vs Australia, October 13, 2023

Back to top Share on Twitter Email this post Copy link