Wing and wide man contributions

This is a progressive and precise session that outlines some of the intricacies of smart wing play. It has been put together to offer a basic wing setup before advancing this through various stages, and using the involvement of additional team mates, plus opposition players.

Good play on the flanks is a prerequisite of any football team. You cannot be successful without fully utilising the linkup play between the receiving winger (your no.7), midfielders and other players, and this session outlines the real positive effect that can be gained from a concerted training exercise.


30×20 yards
Number of Players
Up to 7
Session time
10mins per practice

What do I get the players to do?

Three players

Setting up as shown, a pass by the no.2 is played into the feet of the no.7. Simply, he takes the full-back away with a sharp burst of 10 yards or less, checks, then returns to receive the ball to feet in front of his marker (1a).

Alternatively, if there is space behind, the no.7 can run towards his own full-back to receive, then race beyond his marker (1b).


1a. (left): In Three Players, the no.7 drops then checks back to receive the ball 1b. (right): As an alternative setup, he comes forward then drops back to run on to a pass from his team mate

Considerations for your no.7:
Q. Is there space?
Q. Is he happy to receive the ball in front of his marker or behind?

Four players

We introduce a midfielder to the side (no.8), in order to progress into space behind. Now, a pass is made backwards square to the no.8, whose movement enables him to pass inside of the full-back and into space for the no.7 to run on to (2).


• In Four Players, the midfielder (no.8) moves in to play the forward pass

Considerations for your no.7:
Q. Is there space ahead and a good angle for the passing player?

Five players

Now we introduce a front striker (no.9). The no.7 attracts his opponent in tight, and plays around the corner to the no.9 who has moved towards him. He plays the ball into space behind the full-back for the no.7 to run on to (3a).


• In Five Players, no.9 drops deep to receive and pass on

No.2 and no.8 can work together to change the starting point of the pass (3b).


• The no.8 and no.2 offer alternative passing angles for the final pass

Considerations for your no.7:
Q. Has he attracted the full-back in tight enough to leave good space behind?
Q. Can he play left-footed around the corner first time, so as not to break stride?

Seven players

We now introduce an opposition no.5 and a defender to mark no.9 (4). The no.9 has attracted his marker towards the wide area away from the centre. He receives and lays back to no.8, who plays forward, as the no.7 turns behind into attacking play.


• In Seven Players, opposition players are brought in to make the practice less passive, with opponents closing down attacking players at every opportunity

Considerations for your no.7:
Q. Can he receive comfortably, and is no.9 aware and looking for the ball at a 45 degree angle?
Q. Can the no.8 find space when marked to receive and play first-time into space?
Q. Has the movement of the no.9 dragging the centre-half towards play helped make space?

How do I progress the session?

We can add a marker to the no.8, or have the coach feed no.9, who can immediately be approached by the opposition wide left player (to make a fully competitive practice).

We can also add a dribbling element by instructing team mates to dribble beyond the no.7.

What are the key things to look out for?

We are looking for quick passing, precision, and a maximum awareness and understanding of team mates’ positions.

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