5 exciting wingers that could be brilliant playing as strikers
Few positions in football have seen as big an evolution as that of the winger. Traditionally, the role of these wide men was to get the ball in the box for strikers to score.
This was due to the fact that the 4-4-2 role with two strikers was the dominant formation for a very long time. This meant that with two players to aim for, the job of the winger was to do more of assisting and defensive work.
The evolution of the game has changed the role of the winger completely. While assisting is still part of the demands on a winger, the evolution of formations has effectively changed their roles and duties.
In the modern 4-3-3 formation, the winger has to add goals to his repertoire given how many times they get into scoring positions. For instance, under Zinedine Zidane, the main striker at Real Madrid; Karim Benzema played in a more withdrawn role. This allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to get into goalscoring positions.
The modern winger, therefore, shares many of the characteristics of the striker. This means that over time, some of the modern wingers may evolve into becoming strikers.
Here is a look at 5 young wingers who may become strikers in the nearest future:
#5 Goncalo Guedes (Valencia CF)
The Portuguese winger has been an absolute joy to watch since he burst onto the scene at SL Benfica. The youngster was brilliant in his loan spell at Valencia last year and his love for the club and city saw to it that the deal was made permanent.
Like his countryman, Ronaldo, Guedes is not an atypical winger. His game relies more on awareness, intelligence and movement rather than just pace. His ability to keep the ball is very impressive for a 22-year-old who still has more to add to his game. Apart from being a great passer and an amazing dribbler, he shoots very well and gets more than his fair share of goals.
At the 2018 World Cup, he lined up for Portugal as a striker but didn't shine very well. This was due to the fact that the entire Portuguese attacking set-up was designed to play to Ronaldo's strengths. Guedes' intelligence means he can function effectively as a striker flanked by wingers.
His ability to find a pass and hold the ball means that in playing him as a centre-forward, he can draw defenders unto himself and release the wingers with a well-timed pass. His intelligence will also allow him to find spaces in the manner of the best strikers.
His decision-making needs improvement but that is something he can get better at as he grows older.