Finding the Forward

By Sean Pearson

Area Size: 18 yard area + 15 yards

Teams: 15-20mins

Players: 4 v 3

Time: 15-20 Minutes


  • To combine with the striker through different combinations
  • To use the position of the defenders to make decisions on which combination should be used


This is for teams that play in a 4-2-3-1 formation or something similar for the 7v7 or 9v9 models. It can easily be adapted for a 4-3-3 system. Set your players up in a diamond against the 2 CBs and GK below.



The starting trigger is when the striker (#9) checks away and moved down, diagonally towards the #10. The #9 sets with the left foot if they go left and right if they go right. This is so the angle of the pass back to the #10 can’t be intercepted by a CB. The #10 then plays a pass into space to the #7 or #11, depending on which side the #9 runs.


Next, work on having the striker run in between the CB’s after the set. Have the #10 play either (1) an opposite (reverse) field pass to the opposite winger or (2) play through the CB’s to the striker. This depends on where the CB’s position themselves. Play (1) if they are narrow (2) if they are separated by a large space.


If the defenders are able to get out to a wide player before they can get forward explain the pass to the #10 should be on. The #10 can either (1) shoot or (2) pass across if the 2nd CB blocks the shooting opportunity.




  • Add a 3rd defender to act as a defensive midfielder
  • Play 2 touch

By Sean Pearson.  Sean is also the author Coaching Team Shape in the 3-3-1, Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1  and Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3

About the Author Tom Mura

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