Monday, 28 May 2012

Small Sided Football Is The Future For Young Players

TN5's Comments On Today's FA Announcement

The Football Association has today announced that plans to introduce mandatory small sided games for the younger age groups have been given the go ahead, after receiving the backing of an 87% majority from the grass roots community.

National Development Manager Nick Levett stated 'These changes are desperately needed to support the future development of youth football'.

TN5 supports these proposals and believes that small sided football has a significant role to play in the development of our players of the future. Involving young people far more in games by ensuring they receive and pass the ball more often, can only be a positive in developing their technique and producing players that are comfortable in possession.

Nick Levitt added, 'We also need an approach to competition that makes the game more competitive for more children'.

Again, this is something TN5 endorse. Often the debate about skills development in young players is that competition is detrimental to players developing the right skills. Yet competition is the essence of sport in general and particularly for football, it is a key element that makes football the best sport in the world. We cannot afford to completely discard the competitive element.

TN5's approach combines small sided football with an element of healthy competition to ensure games are competitive and interesting for participants. Over the 'season' players have an individual goal to aim for in a league of their peers, providing competition and greater interest for players whilst the coaches can focus on developing the players' skills.

Visit or email us at to see how TN5 can benefit your team.

TN5 In The Press Receives Local And Regional Press Coverage

The New 5 A-Side has received some great press coverage over the past few days. TN5 has featured in articles published for Yorkshire's 'The Business Desk' and also the 'Bristol Evening Post' internet and mobile sites. The articles written by Ian Briggs for and Pamela Parkes for and can be seen in full by following the links below.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Is Didier Drogba a Premier League Great?

TN5 gives their verdict

With the announcement that Didier Drogba will be leaving Chelsea this summer, probably for a club overseas, how will he be remembered? A true Premier League Legend, or a very good player who went down a little too easily? TN5 looks at however Drogba has performed in his time at Chelsea, and compares him to other great strikers from the Premier League era.

Didier Drogba 
A powerfully built giant of a man, with a great touch and great technique. Many would say he had it all. Yet he had his detractors, which tended to concentrate on his tendency to go to ground from the slightest of touches and occasionally the odd criticism that sometimes he’d disappear and not produce.
I think few would disagree he played a pivotal role in Chelsea’s recent success. His arrival at the Bridge coincided with a trophy haul that few clubs have ever seen in such a short space of time. His record of 3 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, 2 Charity Shields and a Champions League title (secured by his header and winning penalty) is a phenomenal record. 10 major trophies (not counting the Charity Shields) in 7 seasons is a magnificent achievement by anybody’s standards.
Then you look at his personal contribution to that success. His scoring record was 157 goals in 338 games for Chelsea, scoring 100 Premier Leagues in the process. He also scored in EVERY domestic Cup final he played in. Add in his goal in the Champions League Final this season mean the only cup final he didn’t score in out the 8 he played in was the Champions League final against Man United. I can’t recall any other player having such a influence on some many big games so often.
And that’s not even to mention the defensive work he did for the team, his creative play in providing chances for others and his all-round contribution to unprecedented success in a Chelsea shirt.
But how does that compare to the other greats of the Premier League? Asked to name the great strikers from the Premier League and the names of Henry, Bergkamp, Cantona and Shearer would undoubtedly figure on fans lists. So, were they better than Drogba?

Thierry Henry

Many people pick him as the best striker of the Premier League era. 228 goals for Arsenal in 376 games, 175 in the Premier League, is a better record than Drogba’s. Few would dispute Henry was a better finisher, but he was the undoubted jewel in the Arsenal crowd and the focal point of all things they did.
His trophy haul was impressive too. 2 Premier Leagues, 3 FA Cup and 2 Charity Shields is impressive but doesn’t measure up to Drogba’s trophy cabinet, and Thierry had an extra season at Arsenal.
Therefore, a greater striker than Drogba? Probably yes. A greater player? It’s too close to call.

Dennis Bergkamp

An undoubted master at his trade and a true artist at work. Not an out and out striker like the others, but for many people the classiest player to have graced the Premier League.
As he wasn’t a pure striker, his strike on paper looks inferior to others. 120 goals in 416 games, 87 in the Premier League -  not as impressive as Drogba. But the quality of his goals and his creative vision in creating opportunities for the likes of Wright and Henry were second to none.
And his impact on the team’s success was equally impressive. 3 Premier Leagues, 4 FA Cup and 3 Charity Shields is almost on a par with Drogba, but is missing the BIGGY of the Champions League plus a couple of League Cups. It was also achieved over 11 seasons compared to Drogba’s 7.
So all things considers, better than Drogba? For the impact on the team reflected in the trophies won, we’d have to say Drogba edges it.

Eric Cantona

A charismatic enigma fascinated fans from the start of the Premier League era and was a hugely influential in setting in motion the domination that Manchester United came to enjoy and still are.
Like Bergkamp, not and out and out striker. 82 goals in 185 games, 64 in the Premier League is impressive, but not up there with Drogba and Henry. 4 Premier League titles in 5 seasons is an unbelievable achievement too, even eclipsing Drogba. Add in his title with Leeds and it is 5 in 6 seasons. This is also supplemented by 2 FA Cups and 4 Charity Shields. But the one that’s missing again is the big one of the Champions League winners’ medal.
An undoubted star of the Premier League, but his impact was shorter than most others (although massively impressive). His presence in the team was turned to silverware for the club and you could argue his impact was as great as Drogba’s on Chelsea. But a better scoring record and the Champions League on the CV again means Drogba just edges it again.

Alan Shearer

Premier League all time record goal scorer. 379 goals in 733 games, included 283 in the Premier League. So often the Golden Boot winner, Shearer I think, is unrivalled in putting the ball in the net.
However, his major Achilles heel is his lack of trophies. 1 Premier League winners’ medal from his time at Blackburn is what let him down in comparison to Drogba. Close again in the Premier League, and the FA Cup on a few occasions, but the lack of silverware for me says Drogba had more of an influence than Shearer did, although Shearer was without doubt the better finished.

So, was Drogba a great? 

We would rate Drogba above Shearer (for trophies won), Cantona (better scoring record and trophies over a longer period) and Bergkamp (better scoring record and trophies won). Is he better than Henry? We couldn’t say. Henry for his scoring, but Drogba for his all-round performances means they are just too equal to spilt.
Henry and Shearer were both named in the Premier League 20 Season Awards. Had it been next season looking back, we would certainly have Drogba in our line up alongside Henry and he is without doubt a true Premier League Great!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ex-Premier League Player Brian Deane Supports TN5

The former professional player shares his views on The New Five A-Side 

Brian Deane, the fans’ favourite and first ever goal scorer in the English Premier League has had a long and successful footballing career, retiring from the professional game back in 2006. These days Brian’s passion for the game is as strong as ever with his time being devoted not only to his International Academy for Football and Education (IAFE), but also to such great initiatives as ‘Kick Racism Out Of Football’ and The Princes Trust.

Brian became interested in TN5 during its developmental stages and has been supportive of The New Five A-Side and its aims ever since. ‘I think TN5 is a fantastic new approach to the game of 5 a-side and I can really see it being used by players of all different ages and abilities. It’s an opportunity for people who enjoy a kickabout with their mates to inject a more competitive element into their game, without it being so competitive that it alienates players who feel their skills aren’t quite up to scratch’.

TN5 is the perfect way to keep active and keep sociable whilst fitting around players’ busy lives. Due to its flexible nature there is no need for people to feel like they are letting the side down if they can’t play each and every week. The New Five A-Side works with as few as 9 players, so with up to 20 people allowed in a pool, there should always be someone who can fill in in someone’s absence. This flexibility appeals to Brian who adds, ‘Life is hectic and not everyone has the time to commit to a traditional league, so I think the flexibility of TN5 will work well for those with families or busy work schedules’.

You can read about Brian’s work with The International Academy for Football and Education at and you can follow him on Twitter @deanobri1968.

FREE Subscriptions to TN5!

TN5 are offering FREE annual subscriptions until the start of Euro 2012. Act quickly and save up to £73!

TN5 is offering a FREE subscription to all users who join before the Start of Euro 2012 on 8th June.

The usual subscription fee of £73 per pool will be reduced to NOTHING in celebration of this great footballing occasion. To take advantage of this great offer, simply create a new pool and subscribe to the TN5 website today.

Subscriptions will last for a whole calendar year from the date you create your pool. By subscribing to TN5 you will join the growing group of TNFivers who are revolutionising the way 5 a-side football is played. You will be able to:

  • Arrange your Matches
  • View your Individual League Table
  • View your Individual Player Statistics
  • Arrange Social Events with your fellow players
  • Interact on line with others in your Pool.

Don’t delay, become a TNFiver today and save £73 per pool!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

England Manager's Picks For The Euro Squad

England Euro 2012 Squad – Did Roy get it right? 

16th May 2012

Roy Hodgson today announced his England squad for Euro 2012. Last week TN5 gave you our view of who should be selected. So, did Roy go with TN5’s thinking, or make some surprise decisions?

The Changes

Roy’s squad has 6 different players to that of TN5, two of these were as a result of injuries that weren’t known when TN5 made their selection.

The differences were:

In England 2012 Squad: Ruddy, Johnson, Downing, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lampard, Defoe

In TN5 Squad: Carson, Walker, Richards, Ferdinand, Carrick, Lennon.

With Walker and Ferdinand not fit enough to include, we would have picked Johnson as the reserve right back and Jagielka (who is on the reserve list for Roy) to replace Ferdinand.

The other differences need much greater debate.


We can understand the reason for this. Ruddy is playing in the Premier League and Carson in Turkey so we can see why he’s gone for Ruddy. Ruddy has not had a good year though and has let in a lot of soft goals, but as it is for the 3rd goalkeeping spot they are unlikely to play anyway so we won’t lose any sleep over this difference of opinion.

Right Back

This is a very strange one. Richards is one of the best full backs in the Premier League and should be pushing Walker close for a starting spot. Yet even with Walker injured Johnson is the only recognised right back and Richards isn’t in the squad at all. We appreciate the adaptability of Jones and Milner to play right back, but Richards should be ahead of Johnson (who’s had a poor year) and with only 4 centre halves, Jones may be required to play in the middle.

Central Midfield

Again a strange decision to take Lampard, who has found a little form since RDM has taken over at Chelsea but obviously not the swashbuckling player he was, ahead of Carrick. From the squad selection we can only assume he is planning a 4-4-2 line up with a Gerrard or Lampard alongside Parker or Barry. We will be wide open to the counter attack when the former empty the midfield, bombing forward along with the attacking full backs, which is why we need to play two holding midfielders so that Parker or Barry aren’t exposed – remember Germany in the World Cup and Robben in our last friendly?

Wide Midfield

Unless he’s planning on playing Young centrally behind the main striker (which doesn’t make sense to then include Gerrard and Lampard as he would occupy their space) we can’t understand why he would take Downing and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Downing has struggled in a tough league campaign for Liverpool and is probably the player who’s shown the least form in the entire squad. Oxlade-Chamberlain has only played a handful of games and it is too soon for him. If Roy plays him, we fear it will be to avoid the ridicule Sven suffered when he took Walcott. We can only think there is a worry about Lennon’s fitness, as on his day his pace makes him a potential match winner.

Centre Forward

The inclusion of a fourth forward in Defoe to us suggests Roy sees Rooney as the man to play behind the main striker, rather than Rooney as the front man. Again though, this seems at odds with the selection of Downing and the Ox along with Young. We’d prefer to see Rooney up top with a Gerrard or Young supporting him, but if we were to take a 4th forward it would be Defoe as a proven goal scorer.


The two squads are largely the same (17 the same, 2 changes due to injuries, plus the non-issue of 3rd choice goalie), but we struggle to see the rationale for the other changes. As we mentioned in our first blog, we believe you have to pick a squad around the formation you are looking to play, and the choices Roy has made seem to contradict each other as to whether he is planning a straight 4-4-2 or something a little more adventurous.

We guess we will have a better idea in about a months’ time as to whether his squad is on track, but we’re afraid to say our optimism has dampened a little after seeing the squad.


Monday, 14 May 2012

TN5 Team Picks For The Euros

Who should go to Ukraine/Poland? And who we think should be left behind!

Now the domestic season is over and Roy Hodgson is in place to lead the Three Lions into Euro 2012, the focus now turns on who should be on the plane…..and who should be left grounded at home? Here’s TN5’s view:

Firstly, the squad needs to be reflective of the first 11 line up. We believe that a 4-2-3-1 formation is the best way for England to line up and therefore the squad takes this into consideration.


Joe Hart – Best keeper in the Premier League, and one of the best in the world. Head and shoulders above the rest as our number 1 and we will be in real trouble should he get injured. One of our few truly world class players.

Robert Green – Recovered a little from his World Cup nightmare, but spent the season in the Championship. A real indication of the lack of competition for the number 1 spot is the fact a Championship keeper who has looked a liability at international level is our nearest challenger to Hart.

Scott Carson – Playing in Turkey, he’s dropped off the radar a little for most people including ourselves. No idea how he has been performing in Turkey, but assuming he’s doing ok, there is little else to challenge him for the 3rd goalkeeper spot.

Not going:

A fairly straight forward selection for the three keepers. The only other keeper really staking a claim for a place would be Ruddy, but he has let in too many “soft” goals and would be found wanting at the top level. With Foster and Robinson in “retirement” and James well past his best, the only other option would be a youngster such as Stockdale or Loach who have very little top flight, never mind international, experience between them. Hodgson is unlikely to throw in a youngster – but could Foster, Hodgson’s keeper at WBA this season, be tempted to return to the fold for his boss? If so, we would have him in the squad as the number two with Carson missing out.

Right Back:

Kyle Walker – Few would doubt he has been the best right back in the Premier League and justifiable picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year award, as well as being named in the Premier League team of the season. On that basis alone it’s hard to argue against his inclusion either in the squad, or indeed the starting line-up.

Micah Richards – In and out of the Man City side, but for our money an accomplished full back who defends well and is a real asset going forward. A colossus of a man, he adds power and pace to the team and is an additional threat at set pieces. His doubters question his abilities and concentration as a defender, but in our view this weakness (if it is a weakness) is not as apparent in Richards as it is in his nearest challenger for the second right back spot, Johnson.

Not going:

It’s Glen Johnson who misses out. Hasn’t excelled in a struggling Liverpool side. His qualities going forward, when he can hit the ball with either right or left foot, make him dangerous when in possession, but his frailties as a defender have far too often being exploited especially at the very top level.

Left Back:

Ashley Cole – Seasoned international and solid performer. A very average season by his standards, Cole has begun to pick up his form a little of late as Chelsea’s fortunes have improved. It would be a real surprise if he didn’t make the squad and is almost certain to start, which we wouldn’t disagree with.

Leighton Baines – Picked in the PFA team of the year at left back and has enjoyed a good season. Set piece delivery is excellent and can cross a ball superbly. But has he got what it takes to step up to international level? Not really given the chance to prove he has, and not really done anything to justify that chance when opportunity has come his way. That’s why he’s likely to be the understudy rather than first choice at left back.

Not going:

Gibbs has had an injury interrupted campaign, just when it looked like he might make an international claim. Only one with any real claim to going with Warnock falling well out the picture and a young Bertrand not having enough games to justify his selection.

Centre Back:

John Terry – Divides opinion at the best of times, and never more so than at the moment. Many argue his presence might be divisive in the dress room - remember the World Cup press conference? However, we feel he will have learnt from that and will be determined to show he is a team man and puts his country first.

Rio Ferdinand – The other of the old guard. Looked as if his career was on the way down not so long ago, but in the absence of Vidic has re-established himself as Man United’s main defender. Past his best? Yes. Still good enough though? Probably. And that’s why we’d take him.

Joleon Lescott – Probably the English defender who’s had the best season. Alongside Kompany, they’ve formed the best defensive unit in the Premier League. Whilst Kompany has taken all the plaudits, Lescott has without doubt contributed significantly to Man City’s success this year. On form alone, not only would he be in our squad, but in our starting 11.

Gary Cahill – Mid-season transfer to Chelsea has seen him step up into the big time on a more regular basis. A steady defender without being exceptional, he certainly has an eye for goal as he’s proved not only at club but also international level.

Phil Jones – We’ve gone for a 5th “centre back”, mainly due to Jones’ versatility, particularly given the formation we would adopt. We think his best position is centre back, and in the future this is where he will play most of his football and indeed will be captain of England in that role. Although he provides cover at centre back and at right back, we can’t see him playing in this tournament ahead of any of the other four above or the two right backs. Therefore we think his most likely involvement would be as a holding midfielder. Although unlikely to start, we’d have him on the bench to bring on in any number of positions. Passes extremely well and keeps hold of the ball.

Not going:

The main contender would be Jagielka, but an injury hit season means he just misses out. If we were to take him it would be at the expense of Terry if we felt his presence would not be good for squad unity. Smalling has a case, but not quite there yet to edge out any of the others. With King and Dawson suffering from their usual injuries, it’s difficult to see how they would have a case for inclusion.

Central Midfield:

Scott Parker – Another in the Premier League team of the season and enjoyed an excellent start to the season culminating in his captaincy for Stuart Pearce’s caretaker game in charge. The love-in for Parker seems to have dipped a bit recently, and we thought he was being talked up way above what his ability and contribution would suggest. Having said that, his battling qualities are in abundance and he is a definite for the squad.

James Milner – In and out of the Man City team this year, but his versatility and work rate make him the ideal squad man for a tournament. Can play left or right midfield, probably best employed as a central midfielder, but could also be utilised as cover for full backs if required. Perhaps not quite there for a starting spot, but a must for the squad.

Steven Gerrard – So often the main man for Liverpool and without doubt one of the best midfielders of his generation in the world. It’s not been a vintage year for Gerrard and there are suggestions he’s past his best, perhaps his marauding days are gone and he’d be better employed as a holding midfielder. We think his quality is so great that you have to take a chance on him. A match winner without a doubt.

Michael Carrick – Played most of the season for Man United and seems to have benefited from playing alongside Scholes. Whilst we’re not huge fans of Carrick, there’s no doubt he can move the ball around the pitch and it could be argued alongside Parker to do the bulk of the harassing, Carrick could be the perfect launch pad to initiate England’s attacks.

Gareth Barry – Our last spot would go to Gareth Barry. 2 months ago we wouldn’t have had him on the plane. He’s been found wanting in many England games in the recent past, but has put in a real shift for Man City as they got back in the title race. He’s the player who is sweating most on the 23rd and final spot in the squad, with many claims for others to take his place.

Not going:

The injured Wilshire would have been a definite for the squad, but his absence has given Barry a reprieve. The main contenders missing out are the old guard of Lampard and the out of retirement Scholes. Whilst both have played their parts in Chelsea’s and Man United’s season, if England are to go forward, we need to play at a much quicker tempo than these two can now bring.

Right and Left Midfield/Wing:

Theo Walcott – Vastly underrated, Walcott sets up umpteen chances for Van Persie at Arsenal as well as weighing in with his fair share of goals. He scares defenders to death and whilst (Croatia game apart) he’s not found the net for England as regularly as he’d have liked, he creates so many chances for other. Yes he fluffs it sometimes, but his delivery is much better than he is given credit for.

Aaron Lennon – On his day as good as we’ve got but spends too long on the treatment table. If he can be kept fit, he will provide great competition for Walcott for a starting position.

Ashley Young – Had some great displays in an England shirt in recent times and has taken his game on to another level since his move to Man United. Whilst we wouldn’t say he is world class, he can certainly create problems for the opposition and has proved he is at home in an England shirt. With Rooney missing the first two, he might be the one we turn to for that bit of magic.

Not going:

With Milner in the squad able to play on either flank, we’d only take these wide players. That means no room for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Johnson, Sturridge or possibly most surprisingly, Downing. Oxlade-Chamberlain has made some impressive appearances for Arsenal but they have been few and far between and he’s not yet ready for the step up. Johnson’s appearances for Man City are fleeting at best and a promising England career looks to have stalled. Sturridge impressed in his England debut, but in the latter half of the season his form has dipped as have his appearances for Chelsea. Downing is probably the unluckiest to miss out. A poor season for Liverpool has cost him his place when he looked a definite a year ago. If we were to take one chance with our squad it would be to take Downing instead of Barry.

Centre Forward:

Wayne Rooney – We’re far from convinced Rooney is a must. Missing two games is a massive part of the tournament. However, with the lack of other options, I think it’s inevitable that he must come along.

Andy Carroll – Taken a huge amount of criticism this season until a recent late revival. For us he’s a very talented player. His size and aggression makes him a handful for any defender, but it’s his hammer of a left foot that sets him apart and is why he’s in our squad. Would lead our line in Rooney’s absence, but with instruction to the team not to resort to lumping it up to him as he, and the team, are better than that.

Danny Welbeck – Will probably be the man leading the line, but wouldn’t be for us. Has had a decent season with Man United without sparkling. His touch is excellent and could be a danger, but would be used as an impact player from the bench. Gives another option for one of the wide roles if required.

Not going:

Calls for Holt to be included have come from many quarters, but it’s too big a risk and would require a different approach to the games. Crouch has never let England down and is unfortunate not to get the nod ahead of Welbeck and Carroll. The other big absentee is Defoe who’s frustrating season with Spurs means there’s no room for him in the squad.

And the starting line up for France?

As mentioned, 4-2-3-1 is our best chance of success. We have adventurous fullback who can cause problems, but we need to have cover when it breaks down. Parker must hold the central midfield position but needs a ball player alongside him. With Rooney suspended, our line-up would be:

Hart – Walker, Ferdinand, Lescott, Cole – Parker, Carrick – Walcott, Gerrard (c), Young - Carroll

If it was felt Gerrard is past his adventurous best, we’d slip him back into midfield, move Young central and bring in Welbeck down the left.

Former Professional Striker Brian Deane Gives TN5 His Backing

Brian Deane

'I think TN5 is a fantastic new approach to the game of 5 a-side and I can really see it being used by players of all different ages and abilities. It's an opportunity for people who enjoy a kickabout with their mates to inject a more competitive element into their game, without it being so competitive that it alienates players who feel their skills aren't quite up to scratch. Life is hectic and not everyone has the time to commit to a traditional league, so I think the flexibility of TN5 will work well for those with families or busy work schedules'
Brian Deane, former Leeds, Sheffield Utd, Benfica and England striker. Now Director of International Academy for Football and Education

Friday, 11 May 2012

TN5 working in partnership with Leeds City Council

TN5 has joined up with Leeds City Council’s Striker 5

Leeds City Council are delighted to be working in partnership with TN5 to provide the ultimate 5 a-side experience for users of their sporting facilities. As the ideal complement to the Council’s Striker 5 leagues, TN5 will provide a flexible, competitive 5 a-side option for the more casual player. 

Whatever your ability, age or fitness level, TN5 and Leeds City Council can meet your requirements. With 17 venues across the city, including the impressive John Charles Centre for Sport with the latest 3G pitches, the facilities offer a fantastic experience at a local venue. Now everyone can enjoy 5 a-side football however they choose to play.

 “Our Striker 5 leagues give 5 a-side teams across Leeds a great environment in which to compete, played at fantastic local facilities. TN5 will complement this offer by significantly enhancing the experience of our large contingent of casual players who are unable to commit to playing every week in a formal league, as well as bringing more and more people of all abilities, ages and fitness levels into the sport” Phil Riley, Head of Football, Leeds City Council. If you are looking for a more competitive and engaging new approach to your casual 5 a-side game, then TN5 is for you. TN5 is The New way to play 5 a-side football and is revolutionising the way casual 5 a-side is played. Playing as part of a pool of friends or colleagues, you compete on a regular basis against your other pool members. As the season progresses your own league table of individuals will develop until your TN5 champion is crowned! For those who want to test their footballing skills playing against other teams in a more traditional league format, Striker 5 has several leagues available. Leagues are run from John Charles Centre for Sport as well as at Armley Leisure Centre and Aireborough Leisure Centre. For details of how to join a Striker 5 league, visit