Mitoma: The Fundamentals of a Top Winger



Mitoma Fundamentals Winger

Kaoru Mitoma is an example on how to apply correctly the fundamentals of a winger. The Japanese player, who currently shines at Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League, is also being an active international player with the Japan national team. His high performance in the previous and current season has positioned him as one of the most promising wingers today. Mitoma has proven to be a key player for both his club and the national team, standing out for a series of qualities that we will detail in this article.

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Mobilizing the Attack

Firstly, it is important to highlight the exceptional mobility in attack that characterizes Mitoma’s playing style. Mitoma stands out as a player who is active when not in possession of the ball. He is constantly seeking information on where to receive the ball and create danger. An important aspect of his game, when mobilizing the attack, is his ability to make runs in diagonal towards the goal. He is intelligent is able to read that when a teammate has an advantage, it is a good time to threaten the back of the opposing defensive line. He identifies the space he needs to attack, and if he needs to generate it, he uses a feint to create the space before attacking it.

Also, it is relevant to talk about making runs to provide support for his own benefit. The Japanese winger executes these actions with great ease, adapting to the opponent’s marking to avoid offside. From that position, he looks for a diagonal first touch to get past that marker and create an opportunity for his team.

Mitoma Fundamentals Winger. Mitoma, as a top winger, runs into the space between defenders


Mitoma identifies the gap between defenders and attacks it with determination, making a run in behind the defensive line. His timing is perfect, to receive the ball. a run into it

Crossing Situations

Secondly, we would like to highlight his behavior is in crossing situations. He is a player who can produce crosses when he receives the ball on the wing and the opponent closes inner corridors. In these circumstances, he shows his ability to cross the ball with precision to create danger. It is important that the player is able to create his own space to make the cross. Also, it is important that he adapts the crossing target depending on the area where he is, directing it towards the near post, far post, or penalty spot.

Additionally, we want to highlight how he occupies the box when it is another teammate who has the ball on the flanks. He knows how to identify gaps, potential target spots, and adjust his speed to be able to finish. This makes him a very complete winger, not only generating crosses but also attacking them.

Mitoma Fundamentals Winger. Mitoma uses a given freedom and does a good cross


Mitoma is excellent at creating space to cross the ball. In this case, he detects that defenders are floating him, to avoid being surpassed in a 1vs1 situation, so he has the time to cross to a teammate to score.

Mitoma Fundamentals Winger. Mitoma uses the spaces between central back and makes a run to finish the cross


On the other hand, when it is another player who has the ball on the flank, Mitoma shows outstanding fundamentals in attacking the box in useful spaces to finish the action.

Generating and Exploiting Advantages

Last, we want to talk about Mitoma’s ability to generate advantageous situations and take profit of them. It is common knowledge that the Japanese winger excels in 1 vs 1 situations. He likes to face opponents and has a high effectiveness in dribbling. He does not hesitate to go against his direct opponent, whom he deceives and feints to create space. Once he creates that space, he is direct and provides continuity to the action in a way that he can take advantage of the situation.

Also, he is able to detect spaces in inner corridors and drive the ball from outside to inside. Mitoma, born in the Oita prefecture and graduated in Physical Education by the University of Tsukuba, uses feints to initially overcome his direct opponent and from there drives the ball to inner spaces, always with his head up and the ball close to his feet.

While driving, he looks for information and free spaces where to take the ball. This action usually ends in a chance, either by providing an assist to an open player or finishing the action himself. It also serves to relieve the dense area of opposing players and carry the ball towards less dense areas.

Mitoma Fundamentals Winger. Kaoru Mitoma shows amazing ball control by dribbling into the free zone

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As a winger, Kaoru Mitoma understands where the spaces are and drives the ball at high speed and towards inner zones when the opponent is not closing those lanes.

To conclude this block of generating and exploiting advantages, we have to talk about the player’s guided first touch. He knows how to take advantage of the situation when receiving the ball. Mitoma identifies the free space and makes a first touch towards advantageous spaces. Also, it is important to mention that he performs this first touch without letting the ball stop, as that would prevent him from taking advantage of that free space. This action leads him to be a vertical player who takes profit of situations of advantage to generate opportunities for his team.

Mitoma Fundamentals Winger. Mitoma uses the first touch to get rid of his direct opponent


In the example, Mitoma uses the first touch with the leg which is further from the opponent, and without stopping the ball, to surpass his opponent and score.


In summary, Mitoma has incredible qualities and is a winger who dominates most of the fundamentals of a player in that position. He is currently one of the best wingers in Europe, and his performance is very high. Without a doubt, a player to look at if we talk about how a winger should play.

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