An instant way of reinforcing the attack on d5, Nc3 is the standard second move of the independent lines of the English opening. This move is also useful because it allows 3.Nf3, although some players prefer to play the Bremen System with 3.g3 preparing for 4.Bg2, and thus increasing control over d5 and keeping two good options for the development of the king's knight (a standard Nf3 or Ne2, which keeps the long diagonal open and offers some protection against the pinning and possible exchange of the other knight).
The flexibility of the English opening also applies for the black side which must choose how to develop after this move. While 2...Nf6 is flexible and provides some control over d5, 2...Nc6 is also possible, leading to sharp variations where white will have the initiative on the q-side with moves such as e3, Nge2, d4, Rb1 and b4, while black will have some counterplay on the opposite wing by advancing his k-side pawns, threatening to put the safety of the white king in some serious jeopardy.
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3
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- Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.