What do we look for in a winger?Playing as a winger is one of the most challenging positions. Wingers are constantly in a one v one battle with their opponent and need to have great skill, balance and co-ordination, in order to get the upper-hand. It's not an easy position, but one that provides a fantastic chance to express yourself and be creative.
In our training we come across many wingers, which us leads us to our question. What do we look for in a winger?
When developing a winger there are some key areas that we focus on. It is our belief that a winger must be comfortable in one v one situations and have mastery of the ball so that they can express themselves. Wingers who aren't comfortable in possession will feel rushed, and out of control, when they are going against their opponent. Therefore, it is key to make sure that we help develop the player and their technique through ball mastery. We want players to have plenty of tricks up their sleeve, allowing them to bamboozle a defender and love taking them on.
So, one of the first aspects we look for is the players skill on the ball.
We encourage players to perform with skill, enjoying learning new tricks and movements to make it more difficult for the defender to put pressure on them.To help with this we must make sure that the player is both footed, developing the balance and co-ordination to help shift the ball from one foot, to another. This happening all while using body feints to trick and deceive their opponent. One footed players can become predictable, therefore a focus on using both feet will allow for players to develop an element of surprise, and unpredictability in their game.
Once we have this we will also see confidence. Player's with confidence love to run at their opponents, knowing that they are going to get the better of them. Confidence will help improve the first touch, allow the player to face their opponent and enjoy the one v one situation ahead of them, taking charge and controlling the scenario.
Developing players to have confidence on the ball is important but we want them to show that confidence. Can we intimidate an opponent through our body positioning and skills. If we take a good first touch, look up and engage the defender, while moving toward them, we will then show that we are ready to go one on one, potentially causing the defender to step back, giving you as the winger the upper hand.
Once we have worked on these one v one skills it's important that we try to focus on developing an end product.
Can we create goalscoring opportunities, hit the target more often?
Wingers are now scoring and assisting more goals than ever before. Looking at someone like Jadon Sancho shows us just how important wingers can be, by scoring and creating plenty of chances.
Develop the skill, confidence and balance on the ball to take opponents on, and then have the end product. Be a flexible winger who can play on the left and right and give yourself more opportunities to impress.
It's a fantastic position to express yourself and show your skills. Just make sure that we always work on using both feet!
Take more touches on the ball in your training, improve both feet and develop that end product.