Wing Back

Sport: Soccer

A position adapted from a full-back as formations have changed in soccer. Their role has more freedom to attack but they must be able to help their team’s defense. A wing-back is usually used in a 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 formation.

What is the position of a wing-back in Soccer?

The term wing-back is used to describe a position that combines two other positions in a team, these are the full-back and winger. The wing-back will usually play tight to the touchlines staying in between the defense and midfield, ready to help in defensive or offensive situations. 

What is the role of a wing-back in Soccer?

Similar to a full back a wing-back has to help the team when defending attacks from opposition teams. However, there is more demand on attacking qualities as they become more like a winger when attacking the opponent. When attacking they stay tight to the touch-lines which gives their team width.

A coach will often use a wing-back in a formation with 3 center backs and often with no wingers. This requires the wing-back to work hard, running up and down but effectively playing as a winger.

Offensive roles of a wing-back?

Offensively wing-backs are required to:

  • Make attacking runs into and around the opposition penalty area and try to score a goal.
  • Deliver crosses or passes to attacking players to create a goal-scoring opportunity.
  • Be technically gifted and be able to contribute in taking set pieces such as free-kicks and corners.
  • Create space for their team by staying in wide positions near the touchlines.
  • Pressure the opposition defense, resulting in potential mistakes being made.

Defensive roles of a wing-back?

Defensively wing-backs are required to:

  • Help out their team’s defense when the opposition is attacking, almost becoming a fullback and defending their goal area.
  • Mark an opponent when a corner or free-kick is conceded if their team is using man-to-man marking. If their team uses a zone defense then they must be aware of the opponents around them.
  • Pressure attacking players and winning back the ball if their team loses possession. The aim of this pressure is to stop the opponents from entering their goal area.

What are the qualities of a wing-back?

A wing-back has a difficult job throughout a match as they need to keep up with both defensive and offensive situations. This requires concentration and patience. As this role requires the player to attack and defend for the entire game it can sometimes become frustrating and come with little or no success.

Fitness levels are also crucial so a good work rate and change of pace are also important. This requires the player to have good stamina as the role can be relentless in different periods of the game as they are always on the go.

Creativity is another important quality as when a wing-back joins the attack they are required to assist a teammate or even try to score a goal. This requires the player to have good ball control with a good level of skill in their game. In the modern game, it is now common that a wing-back has the ability to play with both feet making these players very important for attacking moves and set pieces. 

Why is a wing-back important to a team in Soccer?

Nowadays, the wing-back role has just as much importance to a team as an attacker scoring a goal. This is because they are often the player that provides the assist for the goal scorer.

This role provides width for the team as well as offensive and defensive importance. The width they provide opens up space on the pitch for their teammates and can sometimes open up an opposition defense.

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