Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Learn English Through Football Language Podcast: Understanding the Phrase “to Pen In”

Have you ever wondered about the meaning of the phrase “to pen in” in football? In this episode of the “Languagecaster” podcast, we delve into the intricacies of this phrasal verb and its usage in the world of soccer. Whether you’re a language learner or a football enthusiast, this podcast is a great resource to improve your English skills. So, let’s explore the fascinating world of football language together!

Football Pitch

What Does “to Pen In” Mean?

Let’s start by breaking down the phrase. The noun “pen” in football is often used as a casual way of referring to a penalty. However, in this context, it refers to an enclosure used to keep farm animals, like sheep. The verb “to pen” is derived from this noun and signifies the action of putting animals, usually sheep, into an enclosure. Therefore, when we say a team is “penning” their opponents in, it means they are keeping them confined to a specific area on the pitch, typically their own half or defensive third.

For instance, Liverpool might be “penning” Wolves into their own half by pressing high up the pitch and preventing them from advancing beyond the halfway line. This strategy restricts the opposition’s ability to progress and limits their offensive movements.

Examples in Football

Tham Khảo Thêm:  The Art of Packing: Essential Tips for Travelers

Here’s an example from that illustrates the concept further: “In the first half, we saw their attacking intent and creativity, pressing Spurs to keep them penned in their own half and then capitalizing on their mistakes,” said Alan Shearer. This statement showcases how Arsenal pressed Tottenham, effectively trapping them in their own half.

Another Football Phrase: “to Hook”

While we’re on the topic of farming and sheep, let’s explore another football phrase: “to hook.” In football, “to hook” means to substitute a player. However, the connotation is somewhat negative, as it implies that the manager is displeased with the player’s performance and decides to replace them. This verb, “to hook,” originated from sheep farming, where farmers would use a hooked stick called a crook to grab a sheep by its neck and pull it back.



Is “to Pen In” a commonly used phrase in football?

Yes, “to pen in” is a frequently used phrase in football, particularly when describing a team’s defensive strategy or their ability to restrict the opposition’s attacking movements.

Are there any similar phrases in football?

Yes, there are several similar phrases in football, such as “to hem in,” “to contain,” or “to stifle,” all of which convey the idea of restricting the opposition’s movements.


Understanding the language of football can greatly enhance your enjoyment of the beautiful game. Whether you’re a language learner or a passionate football fan, delving into football language opens up a whole new world of insights and expressions. So, the next time you hear someone mention “penning in” the opposition, you’ll know exactly what they mean and appreciate the intricacy of the game even more.

Tham Khảo Thêm:  MLS Power Rankings: Exciting Start for Philly and Seattle; Early Struggles for Vancouver and Colorado

For more resources and articles on footballing phrases, visit Pesstatsdatabase. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or suggestions at [email protected]. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the latest content.

Thank you for listening, and enjoy the beautiful game wherever you are!