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England National Team: Tactical Analysis

Gareth Southgate’s England team is another of the great favourites for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. After finishing fourth in the last tournament and reaching the final of the most recent European Championship, England arrive to the Gulf with a strong squad of players, and with a game idea that has been established for more than six years with the same coach.

For all these reasons, at MBP School of Coaches, we have analysed England, focusing on the base structure they most frequently use, their two most relevant phases of the game, and who their star player is.

Tactical Analysis of England National Team

Base Structure

The initial positioning of England is a GK-5-2-3, prioritizing the accumulation of players in the central channel, and leaving the wings free for the wing backs.

From this initial positioning on the pitch, Southgate’s team does not vary too much in their dynamic organization, neither in the attacking phase, nor in the defensive phase.

The most common organization that we can observe during their ball possession is a GK-3-4-3, where the most notable novelty is the height of both wing backs, positioning themselves in line with the midfield and, at times, moving even higher.

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The same happens during the defensive phase. In this case, the wing backs stay at the same height as the centre backs, while the wingers drop to the same line as the holding midfielders, forming a GK-5-4-1 structure.

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Phases of the Game

Analysing the phases of the game that the Three Lions dominate best, we can identify how they base their entire game on two phases: the defensive phase and the defence-attack transition.

If we look more closely at their defensive phase, we can see that they play a very low block, accumulating a large number of players in the central channel. Likewise, they don’t tend to pressure the on-ball opponent very intensely, but rather float, looking to intercept a possible pass, or wait for the opponent to make a mistake.

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Another distinctive feature of the defensive phase is the formation of the defensive sub-blocks, leaving the three attacking players disconnected from the defensive shape, defending only with a GK-5-2. This allows them to prepare more effectively for the defence-attack transition.

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And what happens when they win the ball back? Once in the attacking transition, Southgate’s team stand out for the coordination of the movements of their most advanced players during counterattacks.

Similarly, another of the factors that they perform to perfection is the occupation of the three channels. With this, England manage to generate interlinear distances in the opponent’s defensive structures.

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Finally, another aspect to take into account during the defence-attack transition, in this case when they are losing in the game, is the forward runs of the wingers. When this happens, the tendency when it comes to finishing actions is through wide crosses.

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Star Player

Harry Kane is the differential element in the side. The Tottenham striker has a major role in the different phases of the game that the team want to develop. However, where the figure of Kane is most significant is in the defence-attack transition.

The captain applies excellently the individual fundamental of ‘Preparing For The Counterattack By Searching For Advantageous Spaces’. As a result, he manages to be the first receiver after the turnover.

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In addition, the striker also excels in his passing ability, managing to launch quick counterattacks that allow his teammates to find advantageous situations in front of the opponent’s goal.


After the six-year project, Southgate’s team arrive at the World Cup with the goal of winning it after 56 years of waiting. Now it only remains to be seen if Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jude Bellingham, among others, are able to summon up all their strengths and finally go all the way.

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