If you're a winger, you've probably heard your manager or coach scream out words like "get up, get up," or "go take him onnn!" Let's break down your role and have a look at the qualities and attributes needed for this 11-a-side position.
The Winger's Role in the Team
Along with the other midfielders, the winger is actively involved in the game, providing balance when the team moves up the pitch or helping to break up the other team's play. The winger is the link between attack and defence, playing an essential role in keeping the team as a unit.
They can affect the team's attacking and defensive play in different ways depending on the phase of play, the match context and the manager's tactics. The winger may play the role of attacking winger and/or wing-back in a single match. They're known for their versatility and ability to run up and down the line.
The Winger's Necessary Attributes
A winger should know how to attack, defend, construct play and cross the ball. These are their main tasks. Essentially, they should be versatile with high endurance to support and balance out the team's attacking and defensive play.
They're not an attacking winger as such, BUT they should be able to make the impact needed to speed up the game, outrun their opponent and cross the ball. Playing on the wing is also about using your position to influence the other team's movement when playing into their half. The winger needs to widen the opponent's lines to open up space and create useful attacking opportunities for their teammates.
"What Happens If I'm Right Footed but Playing on the Left?"
We've all taken stick after a bad shot, pass or cross from our weaker foot. (and even from our stronger one). I strongly recommend working on your weaker foot. Firstly, if the manager sees you're effective both on the right and left, they may well pick you more often. Most importantly, you'll not only be able to put in quality crosses, but your game will have more variety thanks to your ability to cut inside and attempt a curling shot with the inside of your other foot.
Skills to Work On
Your Versatility - This will help you contribute better to defensive and attacking play.
Your Endurance - This will help you run up and down the wing with ease.
Your Positioning - off the ball. This will test your ability to be patient!
As a defender with the typical defender's build, what's the best way to stop a small, quick, explosive, dribbling striker? And how do you do it without resorting to dirty tactics like the notorious throat/neck tackle?