Soccer Winger Guide

The winger is a deadly position. Wingers sprint down the sideline into open space, cross the ball, and beat other players 1 vs 1. They can score and play defense.

Good wingers are disciplined and push through physical pain.

A winger plays on the sides of the field (there is a left and right winger). They usually play near the sidelines but occasionally move to the middle of the pitch.

This article will cover the top traits of a good winger and provide some tips to help you succeed at the position.

Top 5 Traits of a Good Soccer Winger

These are the top 5 traits that good wingers possess (in order of importance):

1. Endurance

The winger is the most physically demanding position on the field. They have to jog back and forth across the pitch and sprint long distances.

A winger can be in the defensive half one moment and the opposition’s goalie box the next.

A winger needs great endurance. Otherwise, you will have to be subbed out regularly to be effective.

2. Speed

Wingers constantly beat players down the sideline and run into space. Effective wingers are fast.

A fast winger with good dribbling ability is deadly. You can cross the ball when you receive passes near the sideline and head straight for goal when you make runs towards the middle of the pitch.

3. Dribbling ability

The sidelines isn’t crowded like the middle of the pitch so wingers have good opportunities to dribble.

Wingers consistently have one-on-one encounters with other wingers and defenders so read How to Dribble a Soccer Ball and How to Perform Soccer Moves and Tricks to learn how to beat players and dribble down the sidelines effectively.

4. Crossing ability

Wingers cross the ball more than any other position. They usually take corners.

You need to cross well while running to be effective. You should be able to beat a defender and cross the ball quickly (before it’s blocked).

Read our article, How to Cross a Soccer Ball,  for more information.

5. Defending ability

Wingers have to defend. You will face the opposing winger in one on one situations.

Wingers must learn how to stick with their man while he’s making runs (by staying goalside), slide tackle, delay the opposing player, and defend crosses.

Read our article, How to Defend in Soccer, to learn how to defend effectively.

8 Soccer Winger Tips

1. Beat your man

Use soccer moves and your speed to beat your man. If you’re fast enough, you can avoid the wingback by dribbling near the sideline. If not, you can beat the defender or do a one-two pass around him with a forward to set yourself up for a cross.

Don’t beat your man when you are in the defensive half. Passing will be more effective, and losing the ball could result in a deadly counter-attack.

2. Pass when delayed

After you beat the opposing winger a few times, he will likely give you some space and try to delay rather than tackle. If you get slowed down a center midfielder will come to double team.

Pass the ball before this happens. You have many options. You can play a ball to a forwards feet or a through ball down the sidelines.

You can switch the ball to the opposing winger or make a short pass to a center midfielder. Which option you choose depends on how well your teammates make runs and lose their mark.

If you get into trouble, turn, shield, and drop the ball (pass towards your own goal).

3. Master sop-and-start moves

These moves are perfect for setting up a cross or beating a defender coming at you from the side.

Learn moves such as the stop and go and shiki (covered in our article, How to Do Soccer Moves and Tricks).

4. Cut inside

Defenders expect wingers to dribble down the sideline.  A quick cut to the inside will beat your defender. From there, you can pick your head up and pass or beat the center midfielder.

Beating the center midfielder (or forcing him to mark you then passing) opens a big hole in the defense.

5. Make diagonal runs

Try cutting inside, passing the ball, and running towards goal (run diagonally to stay onside).

Make diagonal runs occasionally when the center midfielder has the ball. This will surprise defenders.

Good diagonal runs lead to breakaways (which lead to easy goals).

6. Use the crofe move

The crofe should be in every soccer winger’s arsenal.

Touch the ball towards a defender (that’s located at your side) then perform the move. It almost never fails.

The crofe is perfect for setting up a cross and cutting towards goal.

7. Switch things up

Keep the defenders guessing.

Do a one-two with a center-midfielder, play the ball down the line to a forward, switch the ball to the other winger, cut in and take a shot, play through balls over defender’s heads to your forwards, etc.

Unpredictability is deadly. The opposing team will hate it when you get the ball.

8. Watch for the defender

Watch out for defenders coming to tackle you after you beat your opposing winger.

Many wingers explode too fast past the other winger. They touch the ball too far ahead, making it easy for defenders to steal it.

Keep the ball close and look up quickly after beating your man.

25 thoughts on “Soccer Winger Guide”

  1. I’m a soccer winger, I have good speed, pass accuracy and I can shoot with my both legs comfortably. I really want to improve my endurance level, jump power (header) and I also want to learn how to take on 3 defenders even when I’m under pressure because I do find myself in such situations while playing…

    • You should not put yourself in a position to have to beat three defenders. If you are in one, I usually fake the first opponent, use my body for the second, and cut in for the third. Endurance, durability, and speed should be worked on use it exercises and stretches.

    • You have to reduce your match pressure.Meaning you shouldn’t have any fear so far as you has the dribbling skills and your speed just make your mind to put all the defenders at your back and you gonna do it.

  2. I am 14 and I have a lot of defenders on me all the time. Also, I am very fast but cant run for a long time, how can I keep my endurance up? And how can I run faster?

    • Hi Isaac – we have a post coming out soon about improving your endurance. Please join our mailing list to keep current on future posts!

    • Hi Christine – We have an endurance guide coming out in the next month or so. Please check back for all the information you’ll need. Also, don’t forget to signup for our email list!

  3. I have been playing soccer for 5 years and want to play left winger and I am decent with both feet but need to work on it. have good speed but good endurance. I am currently 12 and want to become a pro. What can I do?

  4. I have been playing soccer 3 years now and I and very fast and have endurance I and I have e a lot of power on my right footand i can pass well and cross well but I am struggling with skills and and and my heavy touch forward. Is there any tips?

  5. I’m currently training to become a winger.I already have great speed and strong endurance,a good pass accuracy and shooting with both feet is normal with me.I also have great dribbling skills as I can dribble with both feet.But I need some more skills that would fit my playing style as a winger and to improve my jumping and heading. Please and Thanks

  6. I have great speed and strong endurance. I have a nice control and first touch.Im very good at passing,crossing and shooting,but I lack the proper skills.Any tips on improving my dribbling?
    Please and thanks

  7. I’m 16 am a winger,can jump and head. I also have speed and endurance but I want to increase just like sterling and neymar as well as dribbling so what do I do

  8. Hey, I am 14 and also a winger. I am fast and can dribble well. I score almost every game and I can cross it very well, but I run out of energy quickly after sprinting a lot. And my heading is not so good.

  9. Hi, im gideon, i’m 17 years old. I play as a left winger, i can dribble but i always lose the ball because i lack confidence and my coach is not happy with this because i do well in training, please help me

    • If you don’t do mistake, correction can’t come in. As a dribbler don’t get intimidated by the size of the opponent. You need to have a grip on the ground to be strong on ball. And don’t allow two thought inside you. Focus on what you’re doing then I believe with this you will have a result. Remember in football mistakes are allowed.

    • Gideon, my advice as a physical education teacher and a coach as well is ,be bold when having the ball. Again, before you call in for a pass , check if your strikers are free and also always move balls to empty space on the field not where your opponents are please. I think these suggestions will help you.


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