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hackneyfox Posted on 09/11/2019 00:59
Beaten to it
Edited On: 09/11/2019 01:00
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By Bradnor

By Stuart James Nov 7, 2019 31
“Have you noticed the intensity when they lose it?” Brendan Rodgers asks as we watch Hamza Choudhury chase for a ball as if his life depends on it. “They want to win it back so quickly.”

A dozen players are taking part in a possession exercise under grey skies at Leicester City’s training ground. It is just after 11am and the rain, much like Choudhury’s pressing, is relentless. So is the rat-a-tat sound of passes. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine,” shouts Adam Sadler, one of Leicester’s first-team coaches, as the ball fizzes around.

One point is awarded for 12 passes in succession. Another if the ball is threaded between two of the three mannequins that are stationed a short distance apart in the middle of an area about 40 yards square. The players want to win. Badly. Demarai Gray takes a whack and is down for a little while. There is no going through the motions here.

The idea for those in possession, Rodgers explains, is to circulate the ball quickly, aided by two goalkeepers on the outside, and to penetrate by “breaking the lines, to try and play through the bodies [the mannequins], so you play forward”. The outfield players are restricted to three touches, although they rarely take that many.

On the face of it, the drill is all about retaining the ball, which has always been a cornerstone of any team that Rodgers has managed.

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