The 4-4-2 is the most common formation in British soccer. So why is it so attractive here? Find out more in this article.

If you ask an Englishman what formation the national team should play, he will always say 4-4-2. But why is that? What is so special about 4-4-2.


First of all the formation is very simple and easy for all players on the pitch to understand. You have four men in defense, four men in the midfield and two strikers. From the very beginning it is very easy to see what each player’s primary responsibility is


The 4-4-2 is also highly versatile and adaptable. The primary duties were listed above but each player can also deviate from that a little to suit the occasion.

Wing Backs Running Back And Forth

For instance, the left-back and right-back can become wing-backs and make quick runs along the flanks and support the wingers in front of them to devastating effect. If they do this then they will need to make sure that they quickly run back into defensive positions if they are dispossessed further up the field.

Attacking And Defensive Midfielders

Another way to adapt is to look at the two central midfielders and allow one to be more attack minded and the other to be more defensive minded. Sometimes they are named attacking midfielders and defensive midfielders respectively.

This is a great way to provide a link between defense and attack. The defensive player can mop up and stop the other team reaching the defense while the attacker can deliver the ball to the attackers to score goals.

Why Is It Common In British Soccer?

It’s difficult to pin this one down but British soccer has always had a solid foundation in defense with four defenders who each know what their role is. With four at the back, this limits your options to some degree.

Next, we have always had a fast and flowing game. The British game without wingers would be like fish without the chips for the British.

So with a solid back four and two wingers the 4-4-2 formation is created.

Drawbacks To The 4-4-2

In recent years, managers have tried to adapt the 4-4-2 because it is seen as not having enough players in the centre of midfield to stop the opposing team breaking through to the defense. Going forward, it is a little one-dimensional too.

This has been solved by some managers making both central midfielders defensive minded and asking the wingers to also come into the middle of the park as well as play along the flanks.

Other managers will ditch the formation altogether and choose a fundamentally different one like 3-5-2.

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