Winger vs Inside Forward
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Winger vs Inside-Forward: The Difference

Let’s start with the attack, which is the foundation of any football team. And the actual players responsible for converting the collective efforts of the defense and midfield into goals. There are many different types of attackers, and while their ultimate goal is the same, their roles and positions differ greatly.

Today, we will compare the two attacking positions in a very interesting way. You may have already read the title, but here it is again: winger vs. inside-forward.

It’s something to get people talking about. Different types of attackers perform their roles on the field in various ways. In addition to their primary responsibility of scoring goals or assisting other attackers in scoring goals. We will analyze and investigate various aspects of their game as well as what distinguishes them.

What is a Winger?

wingers vs inside forward

Width is given a lot of importance in modern football tactics, and players like full-backs, wing-backs, and wingers are required to use it properly. In attack, having a winger can be advantageous because they usually add an electrifying spark to their team’s gameplay, making it difficult for opponents to anticipate.

responsibilities of winger in football(soccer):

As previously stated, wingers are only responsible for the wings; they provide the team with the necessary width by initiating and contributing to the attack from wider areas; they also have to cover a lot of ground as they constantly move up and down on the flanks.

Wingers take on the opposing team’s full-backs, attempting to dribble past them and frequently cutting inside to shoot for the goal. They also move to the extreme offensive areas of the field and deliver crosses to teammates in the box, allowing them to play both supportive and attacking roles.

qualities of a perfect winger:

Being a winger necessitates a high level of tactical awareness of the game, the concept of space, awareness of the central teammates, and the ability to break the defensive lines of the opponent’s attack.

What are the characteristics of an ideal winger, you may wonder? There is a long list, but here are a few essential qualities in a winger. They must be fast, literally fast, because they must frequently take the ball from deeper areas and sprint to the offensive areas for attacking purposes.

A winger should also be an excellent ball dribbler, as they must dribble past the opponents’ wide players while running on and off the flanks. In recent years, we have seen many incredible wingers with excellent dribbling abilities; wait until we give examples at the end.

Winger Analysis:

  • Their primary goal is to stay on the wings and add width to the team’s play.
  • Wingers are extremely dangerous to opponents from an attacking standpoint due to their technical abilities.
  • They either try to help by delivering crosses and key passes from the wide area, or they frequently cut inside and score goals on their own. In football history, there have been some prolific goal scorers who came from the wings.
  • Wingers can also help on defense by tracking back and attempting to recover the ball when possession is lost.
  • Wingers are very useful when a team is pressing because they stretch out the full-backs and man-mark the opponent’s defenders well due to their speed and stamina.
  • As previously stated, they are quick and excellent ball dribblers. Traditional wingers are frequently seen running up the flanks and dribbling past three or four players in a row.
  • Wingers are extremely offensive, as you know, and they must have excellent target and shooting practice.

ideal examples of a winger:

In a very general and understandable way, these are the basic qualities and roles of a winger. It’s time to show you some examples of traditional wingers. Prepare to be wowed by some heavyweights. Starting with Nani during his time at Manchester United.

The tricky winger was transformed into a lethal weapon. Being forced to play on the right wing. Because Cristiano Ronaldo was on the left flank. Federico Chiesa of Juventus is another formidable winger in modern football. The promising forward has recently had a successful spell on the right side of Italy’s attacking trio.

What is an Inside-Forward?

Inside-forward is a very traditional football term and position. The position was famously used in the early days of football, specifically in the early twentieth century. However, we can see traces of this position in modern football as well!

Many tactical geniuses have replicated this position in their line-ups, and many footballers in modern football have the same playing style as this role. As a result, this relatively new position requires an explanation as well. Let’s get started.

wingers vs inside forward

responsibilities of an inside forward in football(soccer):

An inside-forward has more space and operating area than a pure forward, as well as greater creative freedom. An inside-forward can play a variety of roles; they also play wider on the field but in a more offensive position than a winger.

In such situations, an inside-forward will typically cut inside toward the central areas of the pitch in order to score a goal or create a scoring opportunity for teammates. Inside forwards can also serve as supporting forwards.

They provide support, space, and depth for the team’s forward. This is a more creative role for this position because it necessitates a good understanding of the game as well as positional awareness. In such situations, the inside forward drops deep to assist the midfield and defense. He or she prioritizes creating opportunities over scoring.

qualities of a perfect inside-forward:

An ideal inside-forward should be well-versed in both positional and tactical concepts. They are also technically gifted players with exceptional dribbling skills. Inside-forwards read the game and try to create chances for the more offensive attackers because this is a creative position.

This isn’t the end of it. While the distinction between wingers and inside forwards is fine, the latter should also be a clinical goal-scorer in modern football terms. They frequently have excellent chances to score goals as they move toward the center of the pitch.

That is why they must be strong finishers in order to capitalize on such opportunities when they arise. Lionel Messi is an excellent example of this. Messi, who has around 800 goals in his career, drifts inside from the wing, gets into a scoring position, and perfectly poaches the ball inside. Like a perfect inside-forward!

Inside-Forward Analysis:

  • Inside-Forwards can play in both narrower and wider positions on the field.
  • They can also play in both the extreme offensive and defensive zones of the field.
  • An inside-forward is a goal scorer who also has a lot of creative freedom to create chances while sitting in the deeper areas of the pitch.
  • Inside-forwards also track back to assist the team on defense.

an ideal example of inside-forwards:

Lionel Messi‘s role in Guardiolas era at FC Barcelona is a great example of an inside-forward from the modern era. He was dubbed the “false 9,” but his responsibilities were very similar to those of an inside-forward. He used to occupy the center of the field in order to create and score goals while also tracking back.

Simultaneously, he influenced the right wing. Frequently cut inside and scored fantastic curled shots with his left foot. Cristiano Ronaldo spent nearly a decade on Real Madrid‘s left flank, and we all know how 450+ goals he scored during that time.

But it’s not just about that; it’s also about the magical moments we saw from possibly the greatest player of all time. Another case in point is Philippe Coutinho‘s role at Liverpool. You can closely examine the functions of the position in question by watching these examples.

Head-to-Head Comparison

We discussed both positions in detail, let’s do a quick comparison:

wingers vs inside forward
  • Wingers are quick and good dribblers with an eye for the goal. Inside-forwards have excellent technique as well, but they are more creative on the pitch, looking to create big chances.
  • Wingers are only allowed to play on the flanks and in extremely wide areas of the field. An inside-forward can play on the flanks as well as in the center of the field.
  • Inside-forwards, like wingers, track back to help the defense.
  • Both positions necessitate extreme precision and awareness of their teammates’ surroundings.


You’ve made it all the way to the end of the field! You should now be able to tell the difference between a winger and an inside-forward. This is especially useful in scenarios where you can apply your knowledge in the field. Which character do you want to play? And why is this so? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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