Winger Soccer Position Explained

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

What is the role of the winger soccer position? In the beautiful game, the wingers are positioned on the right or left wings of the field, on either side of the striker.

Their main job is to provide attacking options on the width of the field and be a constant attacking threat by dribbling past opponents, crossing the ball into dangerous goal-scoring areas, or taking their own shots towards goal.

The winger is part of the offense and depending on their team’s formation and tactics, they may play more high on the pitch and act as a true winger, or they may drop down a bit, provide more defensive cover and act more like a left or right midfielder. These two positions are similar but they do differ slightly and today I will be focusing on everything you need to know about being a winger in the modern game.

Winger Soccer Position Image by Jeffrey F Lin

The Role of the Winger Position

As a winger there are specific roles and duties that have to be performed in order to succeed in this position including the following:

Maintaining Wide Positions:

Keeping the field wide not only stretches the defense but also gives the team depth in attack. Wingers often hug the touchline to provide width, allowing the full-backs, the right and left backs, to overlap and create a dynamic attacking triangle.

This width forces the opposition to defend a larger portion of the field, making it more challenging for them to close down attacking spaces.By staying wide on the wings, wingers force the opposition’s defenders to spread out, creating gaps in the defensive line.

This stretching of the defense allows for more space in the central areas, making it easier for strikers and midfielders to exploit.

Create Goal Scoring Opportunities:

Wingers are often among the most creative and flair-driven players on the team and usually the fastest players on the team. Their ability to beat defenders in one-on-one situations, make precise passes, and unleash powerful shots makes them a constant threat in the opponent’s half.

By dribbling past opponents, beating them in 1v1s, providing accurate crosses into the penalty box, and taking shots at goal, they create numerous goal-scoring opportunities for their teammates.

Providing Defensive Cover:

While wingers are primarily known for their offensive contributions, they also play a crucial role in defense and must provide support for the other players playing on the same side as them. They are expected to track back, help win back possession, keep the team’s defensive shape, and provide cover for their full-backs.

Winger Soccer Position Image by Leah Hetteberg

Key Attributes for Soccer Wingers

The wingers are usually some of the most exciting players to watch and these players are usually very attacking oriented and contribute a lot of goals and assists. These are some key attributes that make up a good winger.

  • Elite mentality
  • Excellent attacking play
    • Being able to take players on 1v1
    • Put dangerous crosses in the box
    • Take dangerous shots towards goal
    • Constantly cause trouble for the opposing defenders
  • High level technical skills
    • Ball control
    • Ability to receive the ball
    • Dribbling abilities
    • Skill moves
  • Ability to pass the ball at various ranges
    • One touch pass
    • Short passing
    • Long passing
    • Crosses and through balls
  • Blistering pace and agility
    • Ready and fast on a counter attack
  • High Stamina
    • Winger run very long distances throughout the entire length of a game
  • Quick feet
  • Ability to use both feet (for both crossing and shooting)
  • Ability to press and apply pressure to the opposition defenders.

Winger Soccer Position

Different Types of Wingers

The winger position is very versatile and although all wingers have similar roles and attributes, there are different types of wingers that specialize more in different parts of the game.

Skillful Winger

Skillful wingers, such as Neymar and Hazard are comfortable running at defenders and using their skills and deception skills to knock the opposition defenders off balance. These players are constantly looking to generate goal scoring opportunities

Athletic Winger

The athletic winger is a type of winger that is more comfortable running in behind defenders and attacking the open space. They like to receive the ball in front of them and run into the ball. These types of players, although they can be skillful as well, rely more on their pace and athleticism such as Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele.

Delivery Winger

A delivery winger is a player that focuses more on sending in crosses to the opposing penalty area whether that is by cutting inside and crossing the ball or cutting out and then crossing. Think of someone like Mahrez who is known for his exceptional and accurate crosses to both the back post and near post.

Winger Soccer Position

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Best Wingers to Analyze and Study in the Modern Game

One of the best ways to improve at a position in soccer is to analyze the top players in that position and the winger position is no different. This is a list of the best wingers in the world to analyze and learn from.

  • Kylian Mbappe- PSG/ France
  • Ousmane Dembele0- PSG/ France
  • Neymar- Al Hilal / Brazil
  • Hazard- Chelsea (retired now)
  • Vini Jr- Real Madrid/ Brazil
  • Rodrygo- Real Madrid/ Brazil
  • Mohamed Salah- Liverpool FC
  • Bukayo Saka- Arsenal
  • Riyad Mahrez- Al Ahli

Frequently Asked Questions

What skills do soccer players need to be a good winger?

A lot of the time the wingers are the best players on the field and their main jobs are to contribute to the attack and help the team score goals.

A winger in soccer needs many important key attributes such as high technical abilities, speed, stamina, the ability to get past defenders in 1v1 situations, be a danger in the attacking third of the opposing team, send accurate crosses, create chances, and score goals.

Is a winger a part of the midfield or the forward players?

The two wingers are part of the forward players and they may be part of the midfield if they play more like right and left midfielders, instead of wingers, which do have slightly different roles.

What is the difference between playing in a wing position and playing as wing backs?

The winger and the wing back are both wide players that play out by the sideline of the field. However, a winger usually plays in a more advanced position than wing backs who are more defensive players and usually play on the last line of defense.

Who are the attacking outfield players in soccer?

The attacking outfield players are made up of the forward players which can be made up of two wingers, a striker, or a centre forward, and the center attacking midfielder. The defensive players are made up of the defensive midfielder, the central midfielder (who does both attack and defense), the defenders and the goalie.

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help you get closer to making your dreams a reality.

How can I learn more about the game?

To learn more about soccer, the most important thing is to join a team and play the game as much as possible. If possible, analyze high level games as much as you can and your own games as well by recording them with a soccer camera. Also read soccer books, listen to podcasts and interviews watch soccer documentaries, as well as some movies, tv shows, and anime.

Conclusion

In conclusion, wingers in soccer are essential players for dynamic attacks, using speed, skill, and creativity to break down defenses and create scoring chances. Their ability to stretch the field wide, deliver precise crosses, and take on defenders with rapid pace inspires younger generations.

Remember, wingers are usually some of the most exciting players to watch and it is very important to analyze world class wingers if you wish to play like them some day.

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