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Inverted Winger

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Inverted Winger

An inverted winger is a modern tactical development of the traditional winger position used in the sport of association football. As with most midfielder positions, a winger plays between the defenders and the forwards, assuming both a wide attacking and defensive role along the left or right flanks of the pitch. In addition to demonstrating exceptional ball-handling skills, a winger should possess pace, endurance, and the ability to cross the ball towards the center of the field or near the opponent's goal.[1] As such, most wingers are assigned to either side of the field based on their footedness, with right-footed players on the right and left-footed players on the left.[2] This assumes that assigning a player to their natural side ensures a more powerful cross as well as greater ball-protection along the touch-lines. However, when the position is inverted and a winger instead plays inside-out on the opposite flank (i.e., a right-footed player as a left inverted winger), they effectively become supporting strikers and primarily assume a role in the attack.[3]

As opposed to traditionally pulling the opponent's full-back out and down the flanks before crossing the ball in near the by-line, positioning a winger on the opposite side of the field allows him or her to cut-in around the 18-yard box, either threading passes between defenders or taking a shot on goal using his or her dominant foot.[4] This offensive tactic has found popularity in the modern game due to the fact that it gives traditional wingers increased mobility as playmakers.[5] Such as the left-footed Domenico Berardi of Sassuolo, who achieved 30 career goals faster than any player in last half-century of Serie A football.[6] Not only are inverted wingers able to push full-backs onto their weak sides, but they are also able to spread and force the other team to defend deeper as forwards and wing-backs route towards the goal, ultimately creating more scoring opportunities.[7] Other examples of midfielders who have completely elevated the beautiful game within this tactical archetype include Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Memphis Depay. There are also players like Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery of Bayern Munich, who were positioned as left and right inverted wingers during their victorious UEFA Champions League match-up against Fiorentina back in 2010.[8]

References

  1. ^ "Aspects of a Winger". Complete Soccer Guide. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Barve, Abhijeet (28 February 2013). "Football Jargon for dummies Part 2- Inverted Wingers". Football Paradise. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Johnathan (2013). Inverting The Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics. New York, NY: Nation Books. pp. 373, 377.  
  4. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (24 March 2010). "The Question: Why are so many wingers playing on the 'wrong' wings?". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Singh, Amit (21 June 2012). "Positional Analysis: What Has Happened To All The Wingers?". Just-Football.com. 
  6. ^ Newman, Blair (8 September 2015). "The young players who could rejuvenate Antonio Conte's Italy at Euro 2016". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Goodman, Mike L. (6 June 2014). "How to Watch the World Cup Like a True Soccer Nerd". Grantland. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Koch, Ben (1 February 2011). "Tactics Tuesday: Natural vs. Inverted Wingers". Fútbol for Gringos. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
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