Interview With Jed Davies, Football Coach and Author

Interview With Jed Davies, Football Coach and Author
November 4, 2013 Chris Rowland

By Arnar Steinsson.

Jed Davies is author of ‘Coaching the Tiki Taka Style of Play’. Arnar interviewed Jed for TTT on Youth Development back in August.

Hi Jed welcome back to The Tomkins Times and congratulations on the book being published. I would like to ask you first of all what inspired you to write it?

Great to be back Arnar, you’ve got a really great community on TTT – I can’t remember the last time I saw such a positive comments section than the one under the interview with me from this summer.

The book was never meant to be packaged and sold as it is but I can remember the moment I realised I wanted to find out more, or the moment when I realised I really knew very little about football after years of championing myself as someone who knew a lot anyway!

There’s a great quote from Oscar Wilde that sums up this ‘ignorance’ to the many layers of football that goes along the lines of “I am not young enough to know everything” and this school of thought is only truly understood when you come out of the other side of the ignorance of youth or the short-sighted ‘know-it-all’ culture that exists in football (a culture I was once part of).

“I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” Socrates.

You see, more than ever, I know far less about football right now than I have done at any other point in my life. That sounds bizarre given that I have just dedicated the last two years of my life to researching Spanish training methodologies, tactical history and tactical evolution. But don’t be mistaken, I am far from profoundly lost – I’ve just come up with so many more questions that I want to find the answers to. More recently, I am working on a study in conjunction with Watford U15/18 and Level 5 coach, Louis Lancaster, looking at the phases of play before goals are scored and what that might mean in relation to a defensive theory that Louis has come up with from his Bayern Munich (Heynckes) analysis. From this study I can tell you the differences between each of the professional leagues in England and that if we were to take an average from over 600 goals and 200 games so far this season, roughly 30% of all goals are scored from the phase of play directly linked to set pieces. We’ve looked at wide play, central play and everything else in between to see if the statistics support Louis’ theory – which if they do, would be truly revolutionary to the way that we educate our coaches in how to defend in this country.

“The wider the searchlight, the greater the circumference of the unknown” Dick Taylor

Nowadays when I watch a football match, I watch the game in a completely different way to how I would have done four or five years ago. I see football through a sort of analytical framework (both inter-activity and individual activity analysis): (a) building up from the back and through the middle third [formation, attitudes, patterns], (b) goal scoring creation [formation, attitudes, patterns], (c) the two or three different defensive blocks used by a team in a single game [formations, triggers] and how we transition (what we do in between having the ball and not having it). Transitional moments are broken into (d) the attacking transition when the opponents are organised, (e) the attacking transition when the opponents are ‘out of balance’, (f) the defensive transition when you are organised and (g) the defensive transition when you are ‘out of balance’ [note: ‘out of balance’ is the term the FA use to mean out of defensive shape and still in the attacking shape].

Now, that might all come across as over the top and reducing football to a game of strategies and plans but it really isn’t. Essentially I’ll watch one team and try to understand their game plan, trying to link together all those moments after breaking it down – it is only then you can really begin to appreciate how much work goes into football training methodologies and begin to understand tactical changes as a response to a tactical problem.

The moment I realised I in fact knew very little about football was during my first conversation with Chris Davies who is now Liverpool’s Head of Opposition Analysis, as he went through the thinking behind different Premier League and Championship clubs and began to reel off how you could combat each game plan, one by one. I was simply blown away.

I left that conversation with so much disappointment in the education I had received in football beforehand and a new reality that effectively renders games of my youth like Championship Manager and the typical Match Analysis we see on TV today unsatisfactory in the way that the game is portrayed to us.

When I got home that evening, I couldn’t sleep. I wanted to watch every football match I had ever loved again and analyse each and every game individually. I started with Liverpool vs. Milan (2005 – my favourite game of all time, despite not being a Liverpool fan) and stayed up all night until I had a pile of game plans on a desk. Benitez’s Liverpool, Riijkard’s Barcelona, van Gaal’s Ajax, Wenger’s Arsenal, Ferguson’s Manchester United, Lippi’s Juventus, del Bosque’s Real Madrid, Mourinho’s Chelsea – the lot!

The next stage in my mind then was for me to start telling people about what I had learnt and how certain managers will have distinct game plans that they carry around with them – to details that I had never imaged before. However, I quickly realised that nobody particularly cared and people were generally satisfied with how they saw football. This really did bother me at first, how can someone love football and even work in football but not want to understand it?

But then I remember that Einstein had come up with the idea of the light-quantum hypothesis in 1905 and nobody accepted this until 1923. Einstein’s belief in the existence of light as particles was uncared about for 18 years – Einstein! – so who the hell was going to listen to me, a young twenty-something injury-prone failed football player turned-coach about new theories and ideas that exist within a game that they ‘already know everything about’.

After nearly a year of obsessive observations from a number of different teams, I became fascinated by the different schools of thought in football and I moved on from Mourinho, Capello and Sacchi research that I was in the middle of to start to look at the philosophy of football that the media had branded ‘tiki-taka football’.

I wanted to know EVERYTHING. At first it was just the game models and movement patterns, then I wanted to know why certain tactical changes were made and then I started to dig at how the training methodologies directly translate to the tiki-taka game model.

Tiki takaAs I said, it was never originally meant to be a book – it was a self-directed research project that involved me being extremely fortunate and speaking to some fantastic football coaches along the way (80% of them were able to permit quotes and context in my publication). The book itself was suggested to me by quite a few friends who saw the research I had and from there it started to become a book.

The biggest hurdle (and the reason for the nine month delay) has been permitting quotes, training sessions and including tactical methods with an attached coach’s name. Thankfully all of that has been overcome and the relevant media departments helped bring a 200,000 word book(s) down to something closer to 80,000 words. Which in truth, has only pushed me further to use the information but detach it from the original sources or to do my own analysis that have led to the same conclusions – there is always a way around this sort of thing.

Right now I’m in a role with Oxford University as an assistant head coach, working under former Reading skills coach Jon Collins (who has spent a number of years dedicating his life to researching Spanish training methods). Jon was one of the coaches that helped me with parts of the research and is one of the most knowledgeable guys in football in terms of training methodologies – he is an encyclopaedia of training sessions and has a fantastic personality on the training ground too – even his video analysis is first class! When Jon informed me about the opportunity to work under him, I was in the process of considering a full-time position at a football club. Within half an hour of consideration, I told Jon I was ‘in’ and turned down the job offer on the table, knowing that I would probably struggle to pay the rent in Oxford without a full-time salary.

Since moving to Oxford and working with Jon, I’ve learnt more about training methodologies than I could have ever imagined. You’ll know from the contents of this answer that I am someone who strives to learn more at the cost of my own sleep or financial security – you only live once and you’ll be forgotten about one day, so why not? “Ars longa, vita brevis.” [interviewer note – ancient greek aphorism, direct translation: “art is long, life is too short” and this is to be interpreted as either ‘our lives are too short to master the techniques and craft of our chosen field of artistry’ or ‘art lasts forever, but artists die and are forgotten’]

Find a passion in life and just go for it – great things will come of it when the time is right. Right now, I’m not ready yet for a full-time position at an individual club, but in a year or two I’m going to put up one hell of a good argument to why the club I want to work at should not only employ me, but give me an opportunity to be daring, trusted and pass on my insight without following the strict week by week framework I would have had to at the club I turned down. After all, that’s all tactics are: the ability for players to demonstrate their qualities of “daring, trust and insight” (Johan Cruyff).

So what inspired me to write this book? A passion, a way of telling people who are interested in what I’ve learnt from those in the game and the knowledge that this book will hopefully help me connect with others who have been, are currently on or are about to go on a similar journey of what football really is about in the future. Essentially, this way of thinking also helped me set up the idea for and secure some of the greatest coaching educators, most important figures in coaching and innovative coaches in England today for our first event in December this year.

I think if you mention tiki-taka, people will come up with a wide variety of interpretations. Can you describe the elements of what the style is made up of?

I’ll try to keep this answer short enough to keep your attention, but my own view is that ‘tiki-taka’ is not just about possession, short passing or pressing but about controlling the game through understanding the spaces on a football field and understanding moments that occur in football.

“The intention is not to move the ball, rather to move the opposition” [“La Intencion es a mover la pelota, sino a mover la oposicion”] – Pep Guardiola

Possession football, believe it or not, was an ‘invention’ by the Scottish in the late 1800s to combat the stronger, quicker and better dribblers of England – it was a defensive solution to a tactical problem. Barcelona’s model thinks about defending at the same time as it does attacking, it thinks about warm-ups and training sessions at the same time as it does about losing the ball in the 89th minute. It’s the most complete philosophy in football in my view.

For example, you’ll notice that these ‘rondos’ that Barcelona use are generally in 8×8 metre squares and these 4/5 v 2 rondos start off primarily as warm-up drills before leading onto positional rondos (in Spain anyway!). Why 8×8 metres? Well the Spanish coaches at Barcelona have an answer for this! It turns out that 8×8 metres is also the desired distance that Barcelona coaches want their players positioned when in a defensive block and 8×8 metres is also the typical fast-pace passing phase of a game in a congested midfield or in amongst the defensive team’s block right on the edge of their box.

So Barcelona players, whether they know it or not, are being trained to habitually react to moments they recognise in football. They cut out the 0.3 seconds reaction time of an elite athlete to nearly half – being 0.15 seconds quicker than your opponent in football wins you the ball.

Therefore, when Barcelona players are involved in a 5 vs. 2 rondo in an 8×8 metre square and working on components such as first, second and third line passing, or the defenders working together to tease the third line pass only to both know they’re about to win the ball or that moment of lightning transition, or the famous half-touch of a player who has just received the ball from a player whose pass has been targeted at the third man all along (rather than the player taking the half-touch). The rondo is so much more than ‘piggy in the middle’, there’s a lot of coaching detail we Brits haven’t been told – it’s like the Spanish want to keep it a secret! It took me a while to find out myself through a translator observing a session with me. I remember he turned to me and translated something the coach said and I responded “wait, what?!” – this was just the rondo, how could the coach be talking about the 89th minute of the previous match with his coaching intervention.

It’s ‘a whole’ approach and takes ‘total football’ to the next level of ‘totality’. In my book I explore tiki-taka football in a historical context and go all the way back to the late 1800s right through to today; detailing each major paradigm change in football that has led us to modern day tiki-taka: the overloading of central areas, pressing techniques, possession, formation changes, transitional moments.

Are there any common misconceptions about the style that you have come across?

The biggest misconception is that tiki-taka football is simply all about possession and short passing. Sure that’s the most obvious component of the philosophy but that makes up maybe about 10% of all things considered. You’d also be a fool to think that everything in this style of play is down to moments of genius from individual players on the ball – so much of the play is developed through pattern (or choreographed) play, everything is done in this controlled and thoughtful way that allows for the coach to set up scenarios in training sessions that he knows will occur in the upcoming match.

Think about it for a moment, how often do we see the same player (Busquets or Xavi) in exactly the same space on the field with exactly the same problem facing him ahead of play? Well in a truly chaotic game of football, you’d argue not a lot. But in this controlled philosophy we have ‘repeat scenarios’ that allow for the coaches and players to come up with patterns of play (something similar to that of the play books in American football) that, once again, are performed habitually and gain the players the milliseconds in a football match that are going to enable you to keep possession of the ball. We at Oxford University use the “up back and through” a lot in training sessions of late and it was fantastic to see three or four of these being used in the attacking areas of the field in our most recent match [up, back and through is a three player movement with the ball. The ball is played up to the furthest man, back to the middle man and through to the man making the run into the space behind – up to the top, back to the middle and through the gaps that have occurred]

So it’s not so much a misconception, it’s just that the coach who wants to achieve a similar style of football perhaps doesn’t realise how much habitual control the philosophy looks to have over the game. That’s not say that sometimes it still comes down to a moment of magic, or as Stanley Matthews put it to a journalist – a moment of ‘warm blood’:

“Please, Stanley would you show me your famous body swerve?”, to which Stanley replied “I’m sorry sir, but I can’t do it in the cold blood.”

While reading the book I became aware first of all the amount of history that has shaped this style of football and how many tactical and positional variations there can be within it and as you wrote in the book “I have been mindful of directly imposing any suggestion of a correct formation”  And proposed a concept of form follows process instead of form follows function. Can you tell us a bit about that?

My biggest criticism of the modern day understanding of football is that formation is static and relatively simplistic. OK, we’re all aware of the formation changes between Barcelona’s 4-3-3 (or 4-3-2-1) when out of possession to their in-possession 3-4-3, but can this same positional system be achieved in one or more different ways?

On one hand, we have the system whereby the wing-backs push on, the central defenders split and the anchor man fills in to form a 3-4-3 formation. On the other hand, what if we had the changes that are details in the diagrams that follow:

Capture 1

What we have are the regular 4-1-4-1 defensive block coupled with the subsequent 3-4-3 building out from the back formations – two formations that go together really well and are often seen with clubs employing a possession-based formation.

Look again – only this time, study the numbered shirt given to each player and follow his movement. What we have is a different system to the one you’ll have probably anticipated: the right-sided wing-back pushes on, but the left-sided full-back tucks in, much like the full-backs of the Ajax days in the 90s, one of the central defenders becomes a libero (again, like Ajax) and the left-sided central midfielder spreads out wide to become the left midfielder when in possession. This isn’t totally unrealistic right? In my view, Bielsa has achieved a more radical system in reality. However, the exact same positional system has been achieved.

So all of a sudden, formation is a little more complex than we first thought. This is something you fans at Liverpool have witnessed since the arrival of Rodgers – I remember seeing the ‘central midfielder’ Jordan Henderson becoming a left-sided midfielder as the team lost possession of the ball last season – this movement between positions is something that should facilitate your ability to attack – think Arsenal under Wenger back in the early 00s, late 90s; Arsene Wenger played with a 4-4-2 with Henry and Bergkamp up top, Pires and Ljungberg in the wide midfield positions and Vieira and Gilberto in central midfield. Bergkamp would drop off into the number ten role, Henry would spread wide into the left wing position, Ljungberg would get into the centre forward’s position and Pires would float inside – it was a flurry of movement that left defenders not knowing who they were meant to mark and often created space ‘in between’ markers. Wenger took the 4-4-2 and did something genius with it – he made it unpredictable and fluid. Liverpool fans have become accustomed to this complexity of formation.

Therefore, with this concept in mind, I feel it would be foolish of me to detail ONE system and suggest that this system is the only system conducive to tiki-taka football. The system however, does require there to be certain features: overloads in central areas (4 (diamond) vs. 3 or 3 vs. 2), one v ones in wide areas and a comfortable overload in your own half of the field when building possession out from the back. Study the formations I provided again and begin to think about how these elements exist within the more recent 3-4-1-2 formation used by Liverpool – there really isn’t anything new here.

Now, “form follows process” is essentially something I grew to understand from my own academic background in architecture after a seminar and meeting with Zimbabwean architect Mick Pearce and his own design philosophy. The processes in football however, are that of: (a) building out from the back, (b) attacking in the opposition half, (c) defending in high spaces, (d) defending on the half way line and (e) defending in the deep block. These five (or more) moments in football all often require a different formation and attitude from your team.

Perhaps you play with a 4-2-3-1 in high spaces (see following diagram – used by teams like Everton, Southampton etc) and fall back into a 4-4-2 on the half way line to channel the opposition down one of the flanks into your set-up traps and into a 4-1-4-1 formation [all defensive], then when you win the ball back you transition into a 3-4-3 and then something more adventurous in the opposition half. Therefore, ‘form’ (encompassing everything from formation to attitudes on and off the ball) follows the process or moment of the game – it’s a concept that is relatively clear in my own mind these days and isn’t specific to possession football alone but to all of football.


This idea of formation and attitudes changes depending on the moment or process of the game is what leads me to detail the idea of “form follows process” in my book: an idea based on the concept of an eco-system of formations and attitudes within the same game model.

There isn’t any one correct set of formations or even any one correct set of methods in how you can achieve these positional systems (as you saw in the previous diagrams) and that should tell you that it is nearly impossible or rather, inappropriate for anyone to tell you that you must play with a particular formation or system as so many other tactical aspects need to be considered before hand. For these reasons, I am against the idea that all teams must play with a 4-3-3 formation (as detailed in the recent Australian FA curriculum) – 4-3-3? – In which moment of the game? How will this be achieved? What if 3-4-1-2 or a different movement suits my player profiles better? OK it offers a decent platform as a developmental tool given that players will play in positions relative to how they will when they progress to the adult game, but we have to be really careful with being so prescriptive in a top-down heavy curriculum in my opinion.

Surely the more important factor is the understanding of what your formation is trying to achieve in each moment of the game (process) – defensive overloads to allow for a maximisation of interceptions or overloads to allow for a scenario that means it would be better to pass through the opposition and one vs. one in wide areas? These objectives can be achieved through a multitude of solutions.

It is for these reasons that I refrained from instructing that there is one particular system (let alone formation) that is conducive to playing a possession-based game. It is simply not true that any team in the English Premier League will use one formation during all moments of the game – formations are not static and are far from simplistic.

What is your impression of Brendan Rodgers and his staff like Chris Davies for example and what do you think of their work so far?  

For me, Rodgers understands football better than 90% of football coaches and managers in the professional game and you should be very lucky to have him. He understands the problem of formations and systems as discussed in the previous question clearly and given that Chris Davies is under Rodgers’ mentorship and I have witnessed just how much detail these guys analyse football, I have the utmost respect for how they both conduct themselves in a footballing environment.

I’ve learnt more from analysing Rodgers’ systems of play than from any other manager in football and know that from my conversations with Davies that each and every change is every bit as purposeful and considered as the last. As in the diagrams shown in the previous question, I found it fascinating how Henderson played two or three positions in a game of football and exactly where the line should be drawn under what formation Rodgers’ in using at any one point of time.

But more than this, I’ve seen how Mike Marsh and others run specific training sessions that relate right through to the game model – a positional rondo that details that players must play through a double pivot for example, a common scenario in a Liverpool match nowadays.

The most interesting aspect of Rodgers’ regime to date is, however, how he decided to take a very pro-active approach to (re)educating fans so openly on his arrival last year. Knowing the man to be as thoughtful and calculated as he is, I can’t help but think that these were moments of genius in itself.

You see, often at a youth football club it is a question of winning the parents over and getting them to buy into what you are trying to achieve. I feel that what Rodgers did was something very similar. Brendan Rodgers understood that his way of playing would take six months or more for the group of players to grasp and needed for fans to begin to emphasise with this rather than jump on the back of players and the coaches alike. Instead, the buzzwords “transition” and “adapt” were repeated in interview after interview to ensure than fans supported the slow transformation that went underway at Liverpool and for the most part, fans bought into the purist way of playing football. You have to remember however, that you’ll never win everyone over. I remember seeing Martinez talking about the Swansea promotion parade after their promotion to the Championship – they had one particular fan chasing the bus shouting “PLAY FOUR FOUR F*CKING TWO” at Martinez – unthinkable right?!

So for me, one of the most interesting aspects of Rodgers’ regime was analysing just how he has managed the fans’ expectations and looked to get fans to buy into his vision of football. I have myself been involved in a similar transformation with the Oxford University team I am assistant head coach for. We, like Rodgers, started with playing out from the back as our first micro-cycle, we then worked on our defensive shape and pressing. We’re now moving onto the final third and constructing play in the opposition half – all of these micro-cycles take time and if done well begin to come together after a few months. This is something I believe the Liverpool fans went through and were well prepared to go through – it really is a ‘different way’ of playing and it isn’t as simple as expecting a group of technically gifted players to understand the principles in only a few training sessions. Recently, I even went through great lengths to give the lads at Oxford a detailed statistical report from their last game showing each individual passing accuracy, the number of passes from each player and things like the overall game possession percentage (all taken from a few viewings of our film footage). The result? Well it turns out our figures were almost identical to Cardiff City’s (v Newcastle) from this season – a team that aren’t thought to “over play” – so there should be no questioning the philosophy that we’re trying to install as something “too tiki-taka”, as I once overheard one player saying impatiently after years of playing with a more “traditional method” used throughout grass roots football in England.

It’s safe to say we’ve won over the players now, even those who’d be better suited to Stoke than Barcelona – we’re on the path to achieving something pretty special at our level. After all, it’s one of the game’s greatest myths that you need a group of technically gifted players to achieve this style of play – you only need to be as technical as your opposition are. It’s a question of automatism and spatial awareness more than anything else.

Chris Davies is someone I will be eternally grateful for, given all that he has done for me during the researching and writing of my book – purely because he shares the same passion as I do and not for any other reason. Davies is on his second or third year into his ten-year plan with Rodgers to go into full-time first team management himself. I really wouldn’t bet against Davies becoming a household name in football over the next decade and as I say, I was simply blown away by his knowledge of every single Premier League team and then his own tactical solutions of how to combat each and every tactical problem that different teams pose. For someone so young, it was really interesting to see every single Liverpool player acknowledge Davies as I sat with him next to the Melwood cafe as players entered the room for lunch – he really is a man respected and considered significant by those at both Swansea and Liverpool as someone who has a great expertise in footballing problems and tactical solutions.

One of the aspects of the book which I really liked was the amount of information covering the historical timeline of this style of football. I think it will surprise many readers that the player who was the first to play as a false 9 did so in the 1930s for example. Out of all the people that you that you researched for that part of the book, who do you think was the most influential – of course if that’s possible as they all had an important part to play? If not, then who’s your favourite person within that timeline?   

While figures like Valeriy Lobanovskyi, Viktor Maslov (father of the 4-4-2), Gusztav Sebes and Matthias Sindelar all fascinate me, I really do feel that it was Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff who began to package all the individual elements together. It was the Dutch who first brought together the pressing, fluency of positional interchanges and the short passing game together – none of that however, was invented by the Dutch as such.

Michels actually didn’t like the term ‘totaal voetbal’ (total football) [just as so many don’t actually like the term ‘tiki-taka’, both of which are media-branded] and referred to his own tactical approach as the ‘pressing approach’ – a rather defensive term for such attacking artistry, but this shows you how the Dutch began to understand that all of football is intertwined and overlapping. That is to say Michels considered the defensive tactical elements to be in a sort of cyclical relationship with the attacking tactical elements of football – everything was now considered, the whole of football.

I thoroughly enjoyed researching the very linear line of history and learnt a lot about why particular things are the way they are today from doing it. “Why things are they way they are?”; analysis in the way that I described in question one of this interview will only ever tell you how elements on the game are played – to understand why, we need to dig a little deeper. It’s a lot like taking apart the components of a car. Do you think that by taking apart the car, you’d be able to tell me why the engine is positioned at the front of the car? A historical study however will inform you that of course, the position of the engine was influenced by the idea of the horse and carriage (with the engine being the horse). I didn’t just want to explore how Barcelona, Spain, Villareal, Swansea and other teams play possession-pressing football – I wanted to understand why certain things are the way they are and get a true understanding of the quote that says “the whole is greater than a sum of its parts” when it comes to football tactics or playing philosophies and in order to achieve this, a historical timeline was necessary.

I stressed in the book however, that like the game, it is extremely difficult to construct any such linearity and that this timeline expresses those who were most influential. Matthias Sindelar, for example, may well have not been the first ‘false 9’ in world football, but he was certainly the first great one and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a young Nandor Hidegkuti of Hungary was directly inspired by Sindelar, from just over the border in Austria. There may well have been a player playing his football in a park somewhere in Mexico doing the exact same things a few years before, but given the lack of technological advances in the 1930s, you have to credit Matthias Sindelar for how he brought the idea of overloading midfield areas through his movement away from the defensive line – in particular, against England in 1932, some twenty years before Hidegkuti played his integral part in bringing down England in what was billed as “the game of the century” by the press at the time.

Throughout this historical timeline, the reader is shown the brief stories of twelve men or movements I feel to be most significant to the changes that have led to the modern day understanding of ‘possession-pressing football’ or ‘tiki-taka’. But it’s the smaller details that interest me the most, like the fact that Gusztav Sebes had his Hungary side training with a heavier football in the training sessions during the build-up to the England fixture in 1963 on a training pitch with the exact dimensions of Wembley’s, or how it was actually a Scot who moved to Uruguay in 1909 who was later credited for Uruguay’s 1930 triumph at the World Cup – a Scotsman (capped 17 times by Uruguay) who managed to transform a long-ball nation into a short-passing and aggressive (off the ball) who would look to play patiently out from the back. It’s these smaller success stories that have gone lost in many of football’s history books; these smaller success stories that captured my imagination and inspired me to spend the best part of 3-4 months devoting my time to researching possession football back to the Scottish in the late 1800s through to Pep Guardiola and Barcelona.

From Brazil’s Tabelinha to River Plate’s La Maquina, through to the Mighty Magyars of Hungary, Totaal Voetbal, more scientific football approaches found in the east right through to tiki-taka, I’ve covered a lot in the book and I truly believe that without each and every daring game-changing ‘inventor’, we wouldn’t have had many of the great footballing sides in the last few decades. I hope those who read my book notice that I’ve credited Shankly, Bielsa and others not covered in the timeline, because they too have played their part in strengthening the belief that football can be both innovative and beautiful and will continue to capture the imagination of football fans for the eternal game of football. A game that will never stop evolving. A game that stands still for nobody and simply won’t wait eighteen years for innovative thinkers to be proved right.

Jed Davies

Here is a link to the book online:

Coaching the Tiki Taka Style of Play’.