Alex Scott on World Cup 2014: Backs to the future as we watch the way forward in defence

Teams from the Americas – and the Dutch – are proving very flexible

Like every other football fan the players in the women’s game have been avidly following the World Cup. When I was away with England we watched games in Belarus and Ukraine, on Sunday we watched them on the coach travelling back from playing Liverpool, and of course we’ve watched them at home.

As a player it is hard to just switch off and watch it as a fan, you are always looking at the formations, assessing what players are trying to do. It has been fascinating seeing the different tactical approaches and the flexibility of some teams. Most of the South and Central American teams have played very different formations to the ones we are used to, often employing three at the back, and there has been lots of interchanging.

I think the Dutch have been among the most fluid. I always look at the player in my position at right-back and it’s been interesting watching Daryl Janmaat. He has played as a conventional right-back, but also as the right wing-back. In both positions he hardly ever goes past the halfway line. Daley Blind gets forward on the left but Janmaat makes sure the team is never over-committed. In contrast Mexico’s wing-backs, especially in the group games, kept bombing up and down.

 

We play four at the back at Arsenal now but used to play five and I would get forward a lot. You do need to be adaptable. At Liverpool on Sunday I changed position with 20 minutes left. Danielle Carter needed to come off as she is only just back from injury, and as we were 1-0 up we wanted to bring on another defensive player. Leah Williamson came on to play on the right of the defence and I pushed on. When we lost the ball I dropped back, Leah moved across, and we were effectively a back five. It worked as we held on to win.

Young players like Leah tend to be versatile. Players are now coached to play in different positions and systems. As we have seen with teams like Chile, if you are going to play three at the back the central defenders need to be more footballers than centre-halves traditionally have been as they need to be comfortable when they are drawn into wide areas.

We are adapting with England too. Under Hope Powell we always played 4-3-3 – everyone knew it. Mark Sampson wants to add a new element so we are not so predictable. You need to at that level. So in the past three internationals we have been playing a diamond midfield.

Dirk Kuyt, Ron Vlaar, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder wave to their families during training Dirk Kuyt, Ron Vlaar, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder wave to their families during training  

That changes things for the full-backs, suddenly there is more space ahead of you. To start with, Demi Stokes and I were bombing forward all day, but Mark stresses the need to pick and choose when to go.

Naturally, the right-backs I’ve enjoyed watching most are the attacking ones. I love watching Dani Alves. I modeled my game on him, and while there is a question mark over his defending at times he has such energy and creates so many problems in the final third, his coaches have been happy to take the package.

One of the highlights of a World Cup is seeing lesser-known players come through, like Joel Campbell with Costa Rica. In my position one of the stars has been Fabian Johnson. He’s so quick, he’s been a real threat for the United States.

It is important for young boys and girls to study the players in their position when they watch matches and see what they do. I used to watch games and think ‘what makes her the best?’ and consider how I could add qualities to my game. You are never too old to  learn. With England, Mark had me watching video of David Alaba, the Bayern Munich full-back. He underlaps a lot and Mark thought I could learn from watching how and when he does it.

Watching all these games has certainly whetted the appetite for our World Cup in Canada next summer. England have almost qualified now so it is a matter of finishing the job, then making sure I can keep my place. As we’ve been reminded this summer, World Cups are special.

Alex Scott plays for Arsenal Ladies. She has won 114 England caps and played in the Women’s World Cup in 2007 and 2011. Arsenal Ladies play Chelsea Ladies at Borehamwood FC on Sunday, kick-off 2pm

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own