One of the toughest positions to play in but very fun. The winger position requires player to be very fit and should have good skills with the ball. Some of the best wingers include Arjen Robben, Gareth Bale, and Eden Hazard. Sometimes the wingers can also play as forwards and even as attacking midfielder depending on the coach and formation.
Wingers are more commonly used in formations such as 3 – 5 – 2, 3 – 4 – 3, or 4 – 5 – 1. The term “winger” also refers to left/right midfielders or the left/back fullbacks that move up and project themselves down the line. I’m going to go over: fitness, attacking and defending, movement/runs, and some tips about the soccer winger position.
You want to be a great soccer winger? THEN RUN!! In order to play in this position, you must be able to run up and down the field. You run back to help your fullback and run up to help in the attacking third. Playing in the middle of the field, there are “no breaks”. Focus on your fitness at every single practice because this is key.
Attacking and Defending
There is no doubt that wingers will be busy during the entire game. Remember the following tips when playing in this position:
- Run down the line and cross the ball
- “Run the back” of the player that is closer to the line.
- Provide support to build up some plays
- Drop to help your fullback
- Shift inwards to help the holding midfielder
- Communicate with your fullback when he moves up
- Communicate with your forward/striker
It is very important that you understand when to make a run into the space to either “create another space” or to become a passing option. You shift inward or you get wide to open up the field. Here are my suggestions about where to move depending on where the ball is:
- Get Wide: when your fullbacks or center midfielders have the ball
- Shift Inward: when the ball is on the other wide of the field
- Drop Back: when your fullback needs some help
- Run Down the Line: when you want to be an option for a through ball
One Step Ahead…
This position will keep you occupied during the entire game. You are either attacking or defending; sometimes you have to become a forward and sometimes you drop back to the defensive line. Be Always one step ahead! How?
Think about what you want to do with the ball as soon as you get it. This may include: run with it to attack or counter-attack, give-and-go with a teammate, long pass, play short and open up, or perhaps take a shot!
No matter what your decision is, secure the ball and if you lose possession, don’t give up and drop to get the ball back. Last but not least, communicate! There is no team when players don’t talk. Period.
Watch and Learn…
As I always recommend, learn from the Pros because they know how to get it right (and sometimes wrong). Watch your favorite teams and recorded games so that you can see how soccer wingers play. Take mental notes about what they do right and also what they do wrong. It is better to learn from others’ mistakes so that we try our best to avoid them during our games.
Leave a comment about the experiences that you have playing as a soccer winger. Don’t forget to mention your favorite left/right winger!!