From Mo Salah to Jadon Sancho, the role of right wingers has changed a lot over the years. No longer are the players only expected to just send in crosses from the right side. Instead, they have evolved to become more than just men who hug the right-hand side of the pitch.
Today’s right wingers have a lot more responsibilities on the pitch. The change in tactics of the game has revolutionised football of late. A winger is arguably the most stylish player on the pitch and they are players of great dribbling ability, frightening pace, and clever movement. They score goals, make assists, and these players need to have great stamina as they have to cause damage upfield and also help the full-backs in defense.
It was pretty difficult to pick out the top 10 wingers in the world as there have been a number of brilliant performances.
This list is based on
1. Influence on their team’s attacking play
2. Creativity + Eye Test
3. Statistical performance compared to European counterparts
Also in this series:
Without further ado, here are the top right wingers in the world based on the 2019/2020 season.
10. Adama Traore (Wolves)
So often over the years, many have wondered what Adama would be like if he could get out of his dribble-obsessed poor habits and become a more impactful player with better output in the final third. This season, we have seen a glimpse of it as he has combined his ridiculously good dribbling ability with good output.
He has scored 6 goals and created 11 big chances in 43 games in all competitions. His dribble success rate of 74% at a whopping 5.1 per game volume is frankly ridiculous, a big reason why Wolves have had such a good season. He is almost impossible to ‘guard’. He has completed 12 dribbles leading to shot attempts in the Premier League.
9. Raphinha (Rennes)
In a campaign that has seen Rennes rise to a surprising 3rd position in Ligue 1, leading to Champions League qualification, Raphinha has played his (important) part. An argument can be made that he is Rennes’ most important attacking player, and it would be hard to argue against that.
He has scored 7 goals and created 11 big chances in 30 games in all competitions. His most important weapon has been his intelligence in exploiting spaces in the final third. He has completed 15 dribbles leading to shot attempts – the third highest tally in Ligue 1 – while playing 56 open play passes leading to shot attempts.
8. Ferran Torres (Valencia)
When you are linked with Real Madrid, Bayern, Liverpool and Dortmund just 8 months into your breakout year, you know you are doing something exceptionally well. That has been the story of Ferran who has played at a really high level all season.
He carried Valencia’s attack many times all season, putting in impressive performance after impressive performance both domestically and in the Champions League. His directness has been invaluable for Valencia, and he has also chipped in with 6 goals and 15 big chances created in 35 games. He has the third highest tally in La Liga for dribbles leading to shot attempts (9).
7. Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo)
Berardi has had a season to remember at Sassuolo, although he hasn’t been able to play as many games as he would have liked due to injuries. When he has played though, he has been very influential for his team, putting in some top-drawer performances.
In just 20 games this season, he has scored 9 goals and created 9 big chances. It would most likely have been more, and he would be higher on this list, if he had played more games.
6. Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
From being offered around in the summer to being Juventus’ second most important player, Dybala has rediscovered his old self this season, opening things up for Juventus in attack especially when Juventus have been stuck.
A lot of his work hasn’t led to numbers directly credited to him, as he’s often involved in the play leading to chances created. Still, he has scored 13 goals and created 12 big chances in 34 games in all competitions. He has played 67 open passes leading to shot attempts and 11 dribbles leading to shot attempts.
5. Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen)
Havertz is another young player that has been well-scouted and targeted by many teams around Europe and it is not hard to see why. At Leverkusen, he has become a very impactful player in attack. This season, he has scored 10 goals and created 20 big chances in 34 games in all competitions.
Unlike Sancho who has gotten 18 assists with his 20 big chances created, Havertz has gotten just 8. He would probably be more praised and hyped if his teammates were more clinical. He is second in Bundesliga for open play passes leading to shot attempts (73).
4. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
After a forgettable first season in Manchester, Mahrez has come back into his own this season. The absence of Leroy Sané has meant more first XI chances for him and he has taken it brilliantly.
So often, with Raheem Sterling not at his best, City have looked to Mahrez for inspiration and he has delivered to a strong level. He has scored 9 goals and created 23 big chances in 37 games (all competitions) while giving City a directness they have badly needed. He has played 69 open passes leading to shot attempts and 14 dribbles leading to shot attempts.
3. Mo Salah (Liverpool)
Even though consistency has sometimes been a problem for Salah, his output has always been one of his strong points coupled with his ability to directly impact the game even when he is not at his best.
This season, we have seen Salah once again continue to show that he is one of the best in his position. Perhaps too often, he is held to the standard of his crazy 17/18 season so his work is not appreciated as it should be. He’s scored 20 goals and created 14 big chances in 38 games in all competitions (excluding the Club World Cup) this season. He tops the Premier League (19) and the Champions League (10) for dribbles leading to shot attempts.
2. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Sancho has become one of the most sought-after players in world football and the season he has had is a big reason for that. He has easily been Dortmund’s best player, scoring 17 goals and creating 20 big chances in 35 games (all competitions).
It’s worth noting that some of his significant performances have come from the left side of attack where he’s able to cut in. That notwithstanding, he has been good on the right as well, and his deliveries have been very impactful for Dortmund. He tops Bundesliga for open play passes leading to shot attempts (79) and successful dribbles (71) and has the joint-highest open play passes leading to shot attempts (23) in the Champions League.
1. Serge Gnabry (Bayern)
Gnabry has had a wonderful season with Bayern domestically and in Europe. His obvious stand-out performance was his 4-goal, 1-assist performance away at Spurs in the Champions League but he has dropped many other fine performances all season.
He’s scored 18 goals and created 23 big chances in 33 games in all competitions. He has second highest xA in Bundesliga (7.9) behind only Muller and the fifth highest tally in the league for dribbles directly leading to shot attempts (10).