5. Triangle of noise During games you get a guide behind the goal who gives information to the attacking players: how many people are in front of them, where the space is. I will guide the middle area and provide tactical information but more focused on build-up play. Then you’ve got the goalkeeper who works with the defence. Using that triangle of noise the players can learn length and width perception, so even through the staff just saying a couple of words they will have an idea of where they are on a pitch.
6. England DNALike all the England teams, we have an England DNA that we work towards. All the players know what is involved in our DNA and what we're trying to do. So, they do come in to represent England with as much information and preparation as we can give them.
7. Will it helpAll communication is guided by our 'will it help' mentality. Before we speak to a player we ask ourselves ‘is it going to help the situation or not?’. We try and refrain from making snap judgments on what's just happened and instead take our time. We found that less is more when speaking with the players and recognise the importance of giving the players the opportunity to play the game. Our aim is to make communication relevant rather than speaking for the sake of it. I have ‘will it help’ written on my hand at games as a reminder.
8. Jigsaw puzzle of talentMost of our focus in training is all about team ethic and teamwork. The players understand the benefits of working as a team in a game you can't win as an individual. It’s part of the culture that we have tried to embed with the players. Our belief is that although there are better players who have different skillsets, a winning team is about a jigsaw puzzle of different attributes coming together. That is what we believe should make us better.
9. Matchday challenge At a tournament we can play between three and five games potentially every other day, so we never really have time for rest. The games we play can last for nearly two hours - we have 20 minute halves, 40 minutes total, with a stop clock, so we're talking about 2 hours of running. Sometimes the games will finish as late as 10pm. When we’ve finished, I’ll sit down with the coaching staff and go through all the footage and information because we know we could be playing at 10am the next day and need to prepare straight away.
10. Voice recordings
We use a WhatsApp group during a tournament so all the players receive a voice recording in the evening before a game, giving them specific tactical information and responsibilities. This gives them time to take everything on board but in the morning they can revisit it and ask any questions in the pre-match meeting. Before the game key points are reiterated and any final adjustments are made, but we find that doing it this way has limited the need for long talks, giving them time to focus on their own personal preparation. This is a fairly new way of preparing for games but it has worked really well.