World Cup 2018: 5 quality young wingers to look out for
The sight of a player dancing past opponents, delivering accurate crosses and scoring is one that has delighted fans, coaches and the viewing public across various World Cup tournaments.
Wing play has always been an integral part of the dynamics for teams and Mundials. In various World Cups, certain wingers have stood out and played leading roles for their nations.
Sir Stanley Matthew's trickery down the right flank was a major feature of England's triumph at the 1966 World Cup. In recent times, Arjen Robben's devastating pace and wizardry down the flanks was chiefly responsible for lifting three very average Dutch national teams to 2nd and 3rd place finishes at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Russia 2018 looks like it is will be one of the best world cups in terms of wing play as a lot of quality wingers are going to feature. Here is a look at five of the top young ones expected to perform at a high level.
#5 Marko Pjaca (Croatia)
The one player in a very talented team that promises to offer genuine width and pace, Pjaca has not had the best two years of his career since moving to Juventus in 2016 for €23m.
The 23-year-old will be very important for the Vatreni at the World Cup, as a very talented midfield featuring players like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic and Milan Badelj may have no one to aim passes to, given the paucity of options down the flank.
Against opposition who sit deep and play very narrowly, Pjaca's explosive pace and dribbling could come in handy and help the attack do better. This would be key in helping to stretch the opposing defence and break through tight defensive set-ups.
Due to the lack of pace up front from the strikers expected to start - Mario Mandzukic and Nikola Kalinic - Pjaca's ability to operate effectively on either flank will be key to getting support to any of the strikers - it is expected that coach Zlatko Dalic will only start with one striker.
He may not have had the best of seasons on-loan at Bundesliga side Schalke 04, but his explosiveness may be an option for the Croats.