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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas