4 Tips to Developing the Ultimate Right Winger
All teams need one, that flashy winger that always looks dangerous when they get on the ball, taking on opponents 1v1, getting to the byline to deliver service into the mixer, or cutting inside to create angles for shots on frame.
Here are 4 tips for developing the ultimate right winger.
1. Choose a Player with Blistering Pace
Wing players need pace, plain and simple, so it's critical that you develop and select a right-winger for your team, your No. 7, that can outrace his or her opponent.
There is no substitute for pace, it will wreak havoc and give the opposition nightmares, as the individual battles and threat on the counter-attack, will preoccupy your winger's defender to levels of high anxiety, the left-back, and force them to consider the risk involved every time they consider joining in their own attack.
2. Technical Ability a Must
Flank player's on the wings must possess a very high technical proficiency.
They are required to beat opponents on the dribble and must therefore be confident enough in their on ball ability to put opposing defenders on their heels, forcing them to become unbalanced, and draw the left-center back out of position to create holes and gaps that your team can expose.
It is mandatory that your no. 7 has bags of confidence. Some of the greatest right-wingers in the world live for the moments they can isolate a player 1v1, turn them inside out, and leave them for dead.
3. Your Right-Winger Should be Left-Footed
Playing your wings "inverted", where a left-footed player plays on the right, and vice versa, has been a popular trend for the past few years and the results have been outstanding. Gone are the days of the more traditional No. 7 who's main objective was to sprint down the flank with the ball and deliver a cross into the mixer with their right foot.
Today, the best right-wingers are left-footed, which allows them to be much more dynamic, cutting and drifting inside for a sight at goal, playing against what is typically the left-back's weaker right-foot, and opening angles for passing that aren't necessarily evident for a righty.
There is one clear king of all them all when it comes to right-wingers. Have a look at Lionel Messi scoring one of the all-time greatest goals in soccer history:
4. Quality Shooting Ability
Since your right-winger will be creating angles for shots on goal with their left-foot, it is important that they have great ball-striking ability.
Your No. 7 must be ambitious and skilled enough to take on shots from outside the 18 yard box: looking to bend well-cultured balls into the far post, surprise keepers at their near post, and go for pure power strikes from distance that clear the cobwebs from the upper v.
Football is ever-evolving, and inverted wingers are the wave of the future, changing the definitions of what traditional No. 7's and 11's were formally understood to be about.
If your player develops some of the tips above, and is willing to stretch the limits of what they typically feel comfortable with, you'll be well on your way to developing the ultimate right-winger.