Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Declan Rice could be more discreet

On almost every possession, Declan Rice either fully outstretches his arms to call for the ball or points to where he thinks the ball should be played. It would benefit him and the team if he were more subtle to not alert the opponent as loudly with his body.

Figure 1.1 - Declan Rice calling for the ball, arms fully stretched out.
Figure 2.1 - Declan Rice calling for the ball, arms stretched out.

Every player from Brazil might be watching the ball in this moment, but the second he outstretches his arms, players from the other side of the pitch can see where the ball is going next. They don’t even need to listen for him to vocally call for the ball.

They can see it. They can then position themselves differently in anticipation of that pass. Nothing comes as a surprise.

Figure 3.1 - Declan Rice asking for the ball to be played to John Stones.

In the words of Andrea Pirlo:

If you shout, even the opponent knows he’s free. If he’s free, tell him, I will see him.

Shouting isn’t limited to yelling with your voice; you can shout with your body language. Calling for the ball, pointing to a player, or space.

Even with passers not of the same quality as Pirlo (no one is like Pirlo), the same principle applies. When you shout, you are taking away that space you created by moving to get open.

He has this habit when he plays for both Arsenal and England.

Figure 4.1 - Rodri subtilely calling for the ball by moving his left arm close to his body.

A quick subtle little left hand movement close to the body like this from Rodri would be better, rather than outstretching your arms like a goose running towards the ball.

Match: England 0-1 Brazil, 23 March 2024

Players: Declan Rice

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