Home > The future England player > Attributes and skills > Age-phase priorities
The priorities outlined here are a set of guiding principles for coaches to focus on in each of the age-phases. Coaching programmes will also include a balance of other themes to support these headline priorities.
Members of the England DNA leadership group discuss the collaborative approach used to develop the age-phase priorities.
Stay on the ball, master the ball
Develop a mastery of the ball and the confidence to try new things.
Excite with the ball and seek creative solutions
Be exciting and positive in possession, playing with individuality and with elements of disguise and surprise.
Connect and combine creatively with others
Combine creatively and intelligently with others to create and score goals.
OUT OF POSSESSION
Positive and enthusiastic defending
Enjoy winning the ball back, be difficult to beat 1v1 and look to start attacks when you get the ball.
Be positive and confident in your positioning and ability to win the ball. Be alert when the opposition have possession.
Master a variety of defensive techniques and roles
Enjoy defending in a variety of roles and develop a range of techniques to regain possession.
React quickly and positively when the ball is won or lost and have a range of individual options and actions.
Positive and intelligent attacking reactions
Have a positive attitude when possession is regained, travelling quickly with and without the ball. Take every opportunity to attack, create and score goals.
Positive and intelligent defensive reactions
Try to win the ball back quickly and prevent opponents from starting attacks. Be proactive when the ball is lost and have confidence in your ability to defend.
Pete Sturgess, FA Technical Lead 5-11, explains how the vision for the future senior England player applies to players in the foundation phase.
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PHASE
Look to receive the ball in all areas of the pitch and be prepared to stay in possession.
Seek creative solutions to game situations particularly when outnumbered or in congested areas.
Stay connected with the ball and your teammates to retain possession, open up compact defences and score goals.
Be prepared to defend 1v1 and be confident without cover or support.
Outwit your opponent with excellent patience, timing and intercepting skills.
Win the ball cleanly, regaining and retaining possession in the same action to start attacks.
Dominate transition: react quickly and positively to the first individual action when both attacking and defending.
React instinctively and intelligently when possession is regained, recognising opportunities to disorganise the opposition. Manage the state of the game when opportunities to attack are limited.
Prevent progression by disrupting or destroying momentum, forcing errors and protecting the goal.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PHASE
Retain possession with intent: both individually and as a team.
Open up compact defences with outstanding individuality and teamwork.
Use clever combinations to create and score goals.
Dominate individual defending scenarios to regain quickly and cleanly in order to start attacks.
Defend in an appropriate manner in relation to the state of the game.
Work individually and collectively to dominate defending scenarios and nullify opposition attacks.
React instinctively to transitions - both individually and as a team - based on the state of the game and pre-determined team tactics and strategies.
Recognise opportunities to penetrate the opposition quickly, whilst also understanding when to retain and build possession, control the tempo and change the speed of play.
Recognise, understand and react to potential danger.
Neil Dewsnip, FA Technical Lead 17-21, explains the need for players to 'be brave' and express themselves.
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