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  • It's the tactics, stupid: the Central Winger


    Observers of TFC have often suggested that Dwayne deRosairo is a man without a position. He doesn’t like to play up top in a traditional No. 9 role (he’s constantly drifting back into the midfield) and when he’s employed in the creative midfielder position he ends up spending a lot of time close enough to the touchline to grab a beer out of the hand of fans sitting at those over-priced sideline seats.

    So if he’s not a nine or a ten what exactly is he?

    [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] At the risk of suggesting an oxymoron he could be what Zonal Marking recently dubbed the Central Winger. As explained at Zonal Marking the evolution of this “new” position has come from a return to formations that require a traditional magician playing a central role. For many years the No. 10 had been taken out of the game, but the move to the 4-3-1-2 or 4-2-3-1 set-up has brought the position back. Finding the a team’s Maradona has proven difficult and players that were trained elsewhere on the park have ended up being pigeonholed in.

    So you end up with a winger – Aston Villa’s Ashley Young is a good example – being lined up in the middle of the park, playing just off the striker. Just because a player is setting up in the middle of the park doesn’t mean his former winger instincts go away though. These Central Wingers tend to drift out to the flank looking for the ball.

    It’s a multi-dimensional attack option that can be difficult to defend (in DeRo’s case he might be more effective if the Reds actually had some width to begin with – as it is now, he’s the only option on the flanks and can be defended the same way a single threat could be. If you add additional attacking options wide you can then open up more space in the middle as the two players can pull the defenders out)

    Zonal Marking concludes that the Central Winger isn’t a new invention. There have been players that have played such a role for years. However, it’s pointed out that there has been an increase in the use of this type of player and it might be a trend worth watching out for. As managers start to understand the advantages of Central Wingers they may start to employ them more effectively.

    TFC as a tactical trendsetter - who knew!

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