I miss wingers. I mean proper wingers. Real chalk on the boots types. Get the ball head down and whip the ball in players. Seeing a Chris Waddle or a John Barnes in his three year pomp was a joy. It took more skill to run at another player and beat them. Sadly these days the label is a lie. Right footers on the left and vice versa. Cutting in and getting in the way. Forget your false 9’s, the football world is full of false 7’s and 11’s.
I almost blame a certain Mr T Henry. He was a winger at both Monaco and Juventus before Arsene Wenger ruined everything by turning him into a world class striker. I remember being a kid and I wanted to be a winger. The art of crossing made me sit up and stare. Sadly, nowadays, all kids want to be is a “number 10.” Everywhere are these lazy, 6 passes a game wannabes floating around existing on the premise they “are finding space.” Even wingers like Bale and CR7 have come inside, albeit to devastating effect.
Manchester United have four number 10’s, which is confusing enough, but Wayne, Mata, Mhki and Pogba can’t all play at the same time, can they? At Manchester City they have KDB, Silva and Yaya when he gets cake! (Ed: yes, we are persisting with the cake gags.) None of these will ever have a L’Oreal advert cos they are worth it. Get well soon Monsieur Ginola.
But why so many number 10’s? It annoys me that all players want to do these days is whatever they want to. They either want to drop off into space that’s covered already by an attacking midfielder, or central midfielders wanting to push forward into the same space. I Googled ‘great football wingers’ and what it gave me was Luis Suarez, Jamie Vardy, Gylfi Sigurdsson and James Milner. I mean they are hardly traditional wingers in the Sir Stanley Matthews or Garrincha mould, are they?
My point is that I’d rather see Giggs flying down the wing at Old Trafford than Jack Wilshire pretending to be Maradona. Just get back in midfield Jack! You are better there.
So if any young kid is reading this, it’s cool to be out wide. There probably won’t be anyone else there anyway.