Advanced Team Fundamentals II – System 🆚 System

Wingers: The Secrets of a Good First Touch



Phil Foden (Manchester City) is an example of how wingers use their first touch to generate advantage. Learn the secrets of what we consider a good first touch for wingers, based on their situation on the field and their opponents.

In the fast-paced world of football, the role of a winger is crucial for any team’s attacking strategy. With their speed, agility, and one-versus-one abilities, wingers have the power to change the dynamics of a game. One of the most important blocks of individual fundamentals for winger to be successful is the ability to generate an advantage over the opposition. To achieve this, wingers must be able to adapt their first touch based on the positioning of their direct opponent. By understanding the nuances of each situation, wingers can exploit the weaknesses and create opportunities for their team. In this article we will analyze the secrets of a good first touch based on 4 different situations that wingers can face when receiving the ball.

Fullback on the same height: Surpass them through the first touch

The first situation we will analyze is when the full back is on the same vertical height (depth) as the winger. It is important to understand that this first touch needs to be aggressive and in vertical towards the space, in order to surpass the direct opponent. This will help them create an advantage, which can then lead to a good cross or shoot. It is also worth noting that if the pass is guided towards the space, the winger can make a cross or shoot immediately with their first touch.

Foden (Manchester City) is at the same depth as Liverpool's defensive line, and makes a first touch to surpass and score. This is part of the secrets of a good first touch for wingers.

Winger – First Touch to Surpass

As we can see in this example, Foden is almost on the same line with the defenders and he uses the first touch to create an advantage to shoot and score

Fullback in diagonal to the winger: Pin the opponent

When a full back is in a diagonal position from their direct opponent, the chances of surpassing them directly in one touch are lower. Therefore, in this case, their priority must be to make a first touch toward them. With this movement, guiding their first touch towards the full back will make the opponent stay in their position. By doing this, the winger pins the opponent fullback and allows for the possibility of playing a 2vs1 against them by using an advanced midfielder or full back to generate numerical superiority. In addition, in this situation, the first touch towards inner spaces also allow for direct passes to forwards or advanced midfielders if they are making unmarking movements at the back of the defensive line.

Suso (Sevilla FC) is in a diagonal position versus his directo opponent. He guides his first touch towards him to pin the opponent and have the option to play the 2vs1 against him. This is part of the secrets of a good first touch for wingers.

Winger – First Touch to Pin Opponent

In this example, Suso (Sevilla FC) makes his first touch towards his direct opponent to pin him.

Fullback pressing from a vertical position: Look for the inner gap with the first touch

Finally, the third scenario we want to analyze is when the opponent is coming very vertically and a winger. In this situation, it is very important to understand if there is any open space in inner zones because the defending midfielders are not close enough to offer good coverage. If there is no space, this would open a fourth scenario, where the winger would need to protect the ball to provide continuity to the action, but we are not going to cover this scenario in this article.

As we were mentioning above, in this scenario, the winger is being marked from a vertical position and there is enough inner space to exploit, as there is no other opponent near enough to offer a coverage. The winger’s objective will be to exploit the inner gap, to progress in the game. As the winger is receiving the ball without a good body angle, it is important that they use body feints to confuse their opponent and be able to guide the ball to the open space.

Winger – First touch to Inner Spaces

As we can see in this example, Tete detects the gap in the center of the field and attacks it with the first touch


As we saw in this article, it is important that we teach our wingers to identify in which situation they are receiving the ball, and which potential solutions they can offer in each case. In this article, we have explored four different situations and what the first touch winger should do in each of them to maximize their team’s performance. By understanding these scenarios, wingers can exploit the weaknesses of their opponents and create opportunities for their team. From aggressively surpassing the defender to pinning them down and exploiting inner gaps, wingers can make a significant impact on the game and set their team up for success.

Learn more about individual fundamentals for the winger with the Ekkono Performance Secrets. More information here.

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