For a long timeAi??Indian Football fans had got accustomed to see the national team play the long ball game, to Ai??little avail. Strategy of the team had been to hoof the ball to a lone striker and hope that he would win the aerial duel. Problem was, opponent defenders would often be 6 inches taller than any Indian striker. Previously Bhutia and now Chhetri, both of whom are on the shorter side had been entrusted with the task of winning the headers. Despite repeated failures of this tactic, most coaches in recent times from Stephen Constantine to Bob Houghton to Savio had adopted this style.

However, the emergence of oneAi??playerAi??is all set to change this -Ai??Alwyn George,Ai??who has been a standout performer for India U-22 team as well as Pailan Arrows. Alwyn can play as an attacking playmaker building the play from the centre of the park thus making him one of the most sought after players in Indian Football at the moment.

TheHardTackle takes a look at the career of Alwyn George and the tactical changes that can ring in with Alywn at the helm of affairs looking at both the existing style and the style that can be implemented

The Long Ball Approach

The direct style of play adopted by coaches in India has been often advocated to the lack of play-makers or quality attacking midfielders in the country. The situation had become so dismal that in recently concluded SAFF as well as AFC Challenge Cups the central midfield almost seemed non-existent. There were no attempts to build up play or support the strikers who often were leftAi??frustratedAi??and lonely upfront. Here is a figure depicting the Indian style of play at the SAFF Cup in 2011 and some matches after that tournament.

SAFF Cup: The Long Ball Strategy with Non-Existent Central Midfielders

SAFF Cup: The Long Ball Strategy with Non-Existent Central Midfielders

 

There have been more failures than success when the national team has adopted this strategy, especially against physically superior opponents from the Middle East. The heavy defeats in the build-up to AFC Cup in 2011 as well as the AFC Cup, when India conceded 13 goals and rarely managed to keepAi??possession, brought this to prominence. Things did change a bit under Armando Colaco but the direct-style returned under Savio and subsequently in AFC Challenge Cup the team failed to retain possession.

Lack of playmakers in India was blamed as the reason for this. The young breed of Indian midfielders like Rocus Lamhare, Adil Khan and Jewel Raja are talented but they lack the ability to play in the hole between the midfield and strikers.

Alwyn George: A Look at Life and Early Career

Born on 1st March 1992 in Nagpur, Alwyn began playing football when he was just 10 years old andAi??immediatelyAi??was picked up to Ai??representAi??local clubs, soon moving to TFA . After excelling in the Tata Football Academy, he was spotted by AIFF Technical Director Rob Bann and selected to play for Pailan Arrows. Arrows had been struggling to score goals and a worrying fact was the long ball strategy which worked toAi??minimal impact.

Alwyn’s entrance was to change this scenario. In his Arrows debut against Dempo he was awarded the man-of-the match award for the splendid skills heAi??exhibited during the matchAi??. Alwyn was at the heart of every Arrows move and contributed heavily in both the wins of Arrows this season. In the six matches he played he scored 2 goals and thus became one of the most sought after young players in the country.

Alwyn George in Action in AFC U-22 Qualifiers

Alwyn George in Action in AFC U-22 Qualifiers

 

Alwyn was awarded with a call-up to the Indian U-22Ai??Ai??preparation camp for the AFC Qualifiers and by the time the tournament started, he was being billed as the Indian player to look out for, ahead of Jeje and Ralte. Alwyn didn’t disappoint as he scored twice in India’s 5-2 victory over Lebanon. He followed it up with a beautiful goalAi??againstAi??mighty Iraq when he shrugged off three defenders to chip over an on-rushing keeper. Alwyn was the pivot around which Arthur Papas built his tactic. He was a roaming midfielder in a flexible 4-3-3 formation, which often changed shape to 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 as the situation demanded.

Alwyn’s Role in the new Strategy

The biggest strengths of Alwyn are hisAi??abilitiesAi??to hold possession and make space for others. Alwyn likes to run with the ball and also has an eye for the goal, a rare ability in Indian midfielders.Ai??An utility player who prefers to operate from deep, Alwyn is the ideal player to take the long vacant spot of a play-maker in Indian Football.

HisAi??availability also gives the national team an option to shift from the traditional 4-4-2 formation to a more flexible 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 formation. The following images underline the role that Alwyn is expected to take up in the senior team.

Alwyn's Role in 4-3-3 Formation

Alwyn's Role in 4-3-3 Formation

Alwyn's Role in a 4-2-3-1 Strategy

Alwyn's Role in a 4-2-3-1 Strategy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the first image on the leftAi??shows Alwyn as a support striker in what can be referred to as 4-3-3 formation, the second on the right is a more defensive minded 4-2-3-1 formation where Alwyn plays as an advanced playmaker in front of the defensive midfielders just like tactics of Spain or Germany. The likes of Jewel Raja and Rochus Lamhare along with seasoned campaigner Mehtab Hossain are capable of playing as holding midfielders. Hence, Alwyn George is the player India has been waiting for a long time. His combination with Jeje, Manandeep or Ralte, who are likely to form the nucleus of the team in future, is an asset as well.

With a dutch coach at the helm, Alwyn with his skill-set remains a potent player for the national team. Another key quality of Alwyn is hisAi??abilityAi??to perform under pressure and his performances in AFC U-22 Qualifiers are a testimony to this fact. EvenAi??Pailanai??i??s goalkeeping coach Tanumoy Basu praised this aspect of Alwyn’s game and said

Alwyn is a bright prospect. But he needs to be groomed well. He is someone on whom a coach can always rely upon in a tough condition . He is mentally very strong and technically sound

Alwyn is indeed a player which every coach would like to have in his team and it is expected that he will walk into the national team when the Nehru Cup starts. The Winds of Change have already started to blow and Alwyn George remains the focal point of this change. Indian football fans will be hoping that he brings about the next tactical evolution in Indian Football.

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19 Responses to “Alwyn George: Catalyzing A Tactical Evolution In Indian Football”

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  1. sushant Tirlotkar says:

    Nice one Rahul !!! .Allwyn is the name of the Future .”ALL WIN” .If u can put some videos of his playing matches then it would be great …

  2. Blue tigers says:

    Awsome article and india need play makers like alwin jorge….and best of luck alwin…..and indian senior medfeilders are worst….i think under 22 midfeileders are better dan indian seniors….indian seniors dont know how to hold the ball and keep postion long time…and in indian football only lalkamal boumick know how to hold the ball and keep position long time….he is real play maker but he is not included in senior team….very sad

  3. Blue tigers says:

    We dont wanto hear bloody indian senior team players name…..indian senior medfeilders are worst stupids….dey dont know what is football….let under 22 team play in nehru cup and let they grow….then we can expect anything in 2018 world cup qualifiers……

  4. Saurav k Battajarya says:

    Add Sunil, Nabi, & Subrata Pal to complete this U-22 team transform to senior team to competete in Nehru Cup.

  5. JEJE LALPEKHLUA says:

    Rocus lamare over MEHTAB HUSSAIN?????….r u kidding me????

  6. Aritra says:

    Mehtab is the best mid feider ri8 now in India…No way u can have Rocus in the first team

  7. bhogto says:

    Rocus Lamare is a player who has not been appreciated no matter how well he plays. During the SAFF Cup he was mostly playing the ball to Climax who being the senior pro was expected to create attacks, but still he had a very high percentage of pass completed which not many of the Indian players had. Also he provided a shield infront of the Indian defence and helped in clearing the ball away from the box a lot of times. But it was in the AFC cup that he really grew in stature. Being the senior player in the mid field he was more involved in creating attacks which he did in many occassions but the inability of the other indian players to take advantage of his moves meant that his efforts didn’t produce the result. If you look at the pass completed percentage his is the highest again. Also he has a good situational awareness and calm composure which meant he does not kick the ball aimlessly. He deserves to be there in the team and with India thinking about changing their style of play to possession play his presence is imperative since he is comfortable with the ball and does not waste passes.

  8. suave says:

    I think he will be the player who will soon be playing outside of Inida ,similarly I think Gurpreet Singh also will be playing outside of India soon