Raheem Sterling: Don’t let Possession Slow You Down.

Raheem Sterling: Don’t let Possession Slow You Down.

Raheem Sterling: Don’t let Possession Slow You Down.

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FourFourTwo had the opportunity to sit down at the Manchester City training ground with star winger Raheem Sterling to gain insight on his incredible speed whilst in possession of the ball.

Scan opposition defenses
“Keeping your head up is one of the most important things to remember when dribbling. You need to do this to see oncoming defenders and once you’ve beaten your man to see what options you have on. If you keep your head down you’re more likely to get tackled. By looking forward – down the field towards the opposition goal – you’ll spot that one-two or a gap to run into. Dribbling isn’t just about beating players; it’s about carrying the ball into dangerous areas.”

Trick your opponent
“When we watch our games back I look at what I did, and most of the time I wait for my opponents to make a move. You want to make the defender commit to a challenge. I do this by trying sharp body movements or selling him a dummy or maybe trying a trick to make him go one way so that I can go the other. I don’t just break out into a run; I try to do a little shuffle so he makes the first move, and that helps me decide where to take the ball.”

Be direct, be aggressive
“There was a point when I was playing in the reserves where I tried to stop-start defenders a lot. This involves accelerating, hitting the brakes to make the defender stop, then quickly bursting away before they can reset their feet. But the manager told me it was best when I was more aggressive with the ball. From then on I tried to be more direct and attack defenders without slowing down. But you can mix it up a bit – this makes it hard for defenders to predict what you’re going to do.”