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Soccer Winger vs Forward | A Comprehensive View

Soccer Winger vs Forward | A Comprehensive View

In the game of soccer, there are positions or places where a player carries out their functional role. Each player in a position and role is responsible for a certain section of the field. This refers to how far back or forward and how far, left or right, the area as a player extends.

Forwards, midfielders and defenders are assigned to one of three positions: left, center, or right. The exact position determines the difference in how far forward or back each player covers. So, for example, if you are to play in the center and upfront part of the pitch, you are center forward.

Getting the functions, skills, and differences of players seems confusing at times. Reading this article will help in simplifying the roles, skills, and differences between a winger and a forward in the beautiful game of soccer.

The soccer player in yellow is shooting

What is a soccer forward?

The primary goal of forwards, sometimes known as strikers, is to score goals. Because their job is to be in a scoring position, they are frequently the ones who receive the most attention in the game of soccer.

They take the field on the midfield line to begin the game (that line that splits up the field into halves). These players usually venture as far forward as the opponent’s goal line during a game (the end of the soccer field).

They seldom get any closer than the middle line to their own goal except in special cases when the coach orders all players to defend a set-piece ball in the dying moments of a game.

Forwards are required to stay around the midfield line while the ball is in play near their own goal so that the defensive players may carry out their defensive role. When the ball is returned to them, they must be prepared to score.

The blue shirt striker is facing the goalkeeper

They are the players in charge of kicking off the game at the start of a match and the restart at halftime. In addition, there are several sorts of forwards.

The first type is the center forward. They are also referred to as the primary strikers. And their whole purpose and major role are to score goals.

They are usually the focal point of offensive plays. If your side chooses a more defensive style of play, you may find yourself attacking alone as a center forward. However, if your team chooses a more offensive style of play, you will have greater assistance in assaulting your opponent.

Next is the second striker. The second striker, SS, is often referred to as a support striker. The position is a hybrid of a classic forward and an attacking midfielder. Their primary responsibility is to make passes through openings to generate shots for center forwards and score goals themselves.

In rare cases, a second striker can access the sides of the pitch (left, right, or center); it depends on the formation deployed by the coach.

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What is a winger in soccer?

Wingers are soccer players who do not play as defenders and instead play on the right or left sides of the field. A winger is a midfielder who plays on the left or right side of the pitch.

Wing forward or wingers, as they’re often called, are naturally fast on the ball. They’re mainly utilized to cut into the opponent’s box, shoot the ball or make a pass to the central striker.

However, they also track back more often than the center forward or second striker because they operate from the wing. In addition, wingers are sometimes required to provide defensive protection for the full-backs; this is a particularly demanding duty.

The primary function of the winger is to provide scoring chances by crossing the ball. A winger is also expected to help the center forwards with accurate crosses. And if you are a winger, you can score goals on your own if the opportunity arises.

Some attackers can also play the role of a winger in front of another lone striker (center forward).

On the other hand, modern soccer tends to redefine the winger’s function, with most of them tucking in to assist the more central attackers and leaving the wing-backs to convert most crosses.

This is evident in the performances of wingers like Robert Pires, Raheem Sterling, and Arjen Robben.

Soccer winger vs forward

A forward in soccer is simply someone who scores goals; his sole mission is to score goals. In his squad, he is known as the “poacher,” especially when he has a habit of getting behind the defensive line and full alertness to detect a free ball in the opponent’s box.

A forward takes advantage of opportunities when they present themselves on the field. Therefore, the criteria for a forward usually must be tall, swift, and strong and must also have a keen sense of aim.

A winger, on the other hand, is a player who assists the forward. His contribution is vital. His team responsibilities also include making crosses from the right or left side of the field.

He should be quick, good at swinging the ball and passing in the danger zone of opponents. As a winger, you should be skillful. Dribbling is essential for success in this position.

A winger generally plays behind the forwards and on the wings of the pitch. However, they occasionally play inside to assist the central midfielders. While a forward stands upfront on the pitch, waiting for the ball to score, and occasionally gives assists to other players.

Another crucial characteristic for wingers is speed. As a winger, you must be able to beat players along the sideline and rush into open space. Effective wingers are quick. A quick winger with superb dribbling skills is lethal.

When you receive passes along the sideline, you can cross the ball and sprint straight for the goal when you make runs towards the center of the field.

The sides are not often as congested as the center of the field. Wingers must be able to dribble well to convert opportunities from the sidelines.

Wingers are frequently involved in one-on-one situations with other wingers and defenders. So dribbling them will allow you to generate opportunities for your squad.

As a winger, prepare movements for taking on your opponent. This will also necessitate your quickness. You can evade the wing-back by dribbling along the sideline if you are quick enough. If not, you can go up against the defender.

You may also position yourself up for a cross by doing a one-two pass around him with a forward.

But be careful not to attempt a take-on move on your opponent when in your half. That can be risky! Passing would be more efficient because losing the ball might lead to a lethal counter-attack from the opponent.

After you have taken on your opponent a few times, he will probably leave you some room and try to delay your departure instead of tackling you. A center midfielder will come to double team you if you are slowed down. Before this happens, pass the ball.

You may pass to the forwards or send a through ball along the sidelines. You can even pass the ball to the opposite winger or the center midfielder.

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Which option you select is determined by how well your teammates can run. Make turns, shield the ball, and pass it back if you get into difficulty (pass towards your own goal).

In most circumstances, defenders expect wingers to dribble along the sideline. Your opponent will be defeated if you make a swift cut to the inside. You can then pick your head up and pass or shoot the ball.

Keep the defenders on their toes. Unpredictability helps! When you get the ball, the opposition team will be furious. Practice many other things. This will make you unpredictable, giving you more opportunities to create opportunities for your team.

If you are a forward, you receive more scoring opportunities. As a forward, there are necessary traits you should exhibit. You need some skills to reach your objective (which is scoring goals).

Forwards are less defensive compared to wingers. When the opposition’s defenders have the ball, your job as a forward is to exert pressure. When the ball is in the forward’s defensive half, they generally stand and watch.

Good strikers score goals and make it difficult for defenders. Playing forward is fantastic when you score frequently, but it can be frustrating when you do not.

A notable feature of a forward is their ability to shoot. Forwards only have one task: to score a goal by kicking the ball into the back of the net. And to achieve that, the forward needs to have a strong ability to finish.

You should be able to shoot under pressure and while rushing. As a forward, you should be able to use every form of soccer shot efficiently.

Mastering every sort of soccer shot is essential for a forward because it allows you to shoot faster. If you can hit a first-time shot, then you don’t need to take an extra touch and approach the ball at an angle.

If you want to score goals regularly as a forward, you must make shooting a habit. You don’t score if you don’t shoot!

Forwards are always closely marked. Forwards must be able to receive passes (both in the air and on the ground) when under pressure without losing the ball.

A Forward must be able to turn in one touch, and move the ball away from defenders, and shoot. In addition, forwards must operate swiftly to score goals.

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Although strength is important for success as a forward, weak and speedy forwards may also be effective.

Speed allows you as a forward to dribble past defenders, make runs to the sidelines that result in crosses, and chase down through balls sent over the heads of defenders. Speed also aids in putting pressure on the defense.

A forward with strong heading skills will complete his task (score goals) more frequently. Height, positioning, speed, and strength contribute to winning headers. An example of a forward who has a strong heading skill is Cristiano Ronaldo.

The goals you score as a forward do not necessarily have to be attractive. Sometimes you get rebounds because you work harder than the defense. Sometimes you fire the ball with the hopes that it may bounce off someone and deflect into the net.

In order to be a good forward, you must score goals in whatever way possible. Forwards, unlike wingers, shoot frequently. And if there are no open opportunities, you must hustle as a forward to create a little space through which you can shoot.

This can be seen in the difference between Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech. The former scores a lot of goals while the latter creates goal-scoring chances.

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In the game of soccer, there are instances when a coach will prefer forwards to spread apart, but forwards are more successful when they are close to other forwards. Forwards can make one-two passes, overlaps, and make other moves when they stick together.

When the ball is sent to one of the forwards, the other forward offers support and makes runs. In this case, to make the most of the situation, it’s best to remain compact with the rest of the team as it will help our team to have more attacking alternatives.

The biggest differences between a winger and a forward include their primary functions. A forward’s primary function in a soccer team is to score goals. That is very different from the primary function of a winger.

two soccer players are racing at speed

The primary function of a winger is to play along the sideline to create chances of goals for his or her team. As well as giving assists to the forward. The winger can score goals as well, but the function of goal scoring is not his or her primary function.

Both the winger and the forward need to be strong, but a forward needs to be stronger to be able to exert pressure on the opponent’s defense.

Speed is another common trait both winger and forward must exhibit, but a winger needs to be faster. A slow but strong forward can still be effective if he has good shooting skills. However, a winger who’s slow will not be able to create counter-attack chances for the team. He might not be able to run past the defense to give assists to the forward.

Angel Di Maria and Son Heung-Min are prime examples of forwards with great speed and counter-attacking qualities. While

Wingers and forwards use soccer cleats. And a winger can use a forward’s cleat and vice versa without any adverse effect or rule against it. But forward prefers soccer cleats that help their striking power and also help their grip on the ball.

Soccer cleats like Nike Phantom GT Boots are famously used by famous forwards like Harry Kane, Edison Cavani, and so on.

Wingers love wearing soccer cleats that help them gain top speed on the pitch. Famous winger like Jadon Sancho loves to wear Nike Mercurial Superfly because of how it helps his speed.




Long cross, wing defense, diagonal runs.

Short cross, central defense, heading skills, take-on, shooting skills.


Continuously, actively and passively

Actively, don’t need too much

Playing style

Cut in on either side of the wing to take a shot, make a cross, or cutback pass

Lurks around the opposition’s box waiting to receive a pass or pounce on a loose ball and fire into the net

Required qualities

Speed, stamina, strength, dribbling, pin-point cross, amazing run …

Strength, speed, stamina, first-time shot, assertiveness


Jadon Sancho

Harry Kane


A soccer winger is positioned to play along the sideline of the pitch. He makes runs, creates chances for the team, and passes to the forward.

The forward usually plays up-front, facing the defense of the opponent. His primary functional role is to score goals. It is the forward that exerts pressure on the defense of the opponent.

Strength, speed, shooting ability, and many others are the major traits discussed to be necessary for each forward. While endurance, speed, unpredictability, and others are essential for a winger to be effective.