Sherwood against holding midfielders - Les Ferdinand

The Spurs coach says that the new team in the dugout all agree that central players should be able to both attack and defend, as opposed to Andre Villas-Boas's system
Tottenham coach Les Ferdinand says that manager Tim Sherwood shares his dislike of holding midfielders.

Recently sacked Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas regularly used two central players positioned in protection of the back four but his successor has changed that philosophy since inheriting the top job, with his colleague explaining their preference for midfielders who can participate in both attacking and defending play.

The switch has paid dividends for Sherwood, who has seen his side win five of their six Premier League matches under his tutelage, and Ferdinand told the Tottenham & Wood Green Journal: "I know there's a lot of talk about holding midfield players and I'm always arguing with Tim and Chris about this - and they agree.

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"I don't like holding midfield players. I like players to understand that, if one goes forward, the other one tucks in for them. I don't want someone who just sits in front of the back four and doesn't go anywhere but that's just my own personal view.

"I was saying to William Gallas when he was here: The worst thing that happened in this league was Claude Makelele.

"When he came into this country [to Chelsea in 2003] he wasn't a holding midfield player. He was a player who had the intelligence to say: 'Frank [Lampard], you can score more goals than me so, if you go, I'm going to tuck in here for you and I'll hold. You keep going forward.'

"Then everyone went 'right, we've got to have a holding midfield player' and what we've done is produce a crop of players who don't want to go over the halfway line, who don't want to pass over the halfway line and are happy to just sit in front of the back four."

Ferdinand points towards Manchester City's success this season as a perfect example of why teams do not need holding midfielders.

"Do Man City play with one? They've still scored 100-odd goals," he observed. "People say Yaya Toure is a holding midfielder. No he isn't, he's getting forward and getting goals - but, if someone else goes, he'll stay in there.

"Fernandinho's scoring goals. Why? Because he's a holding player? No. They've just got an understanding: 'If he goes, I'll hold, and, if I go, he'll hold'."