Tony Carr: Getting the best out of your widemen

Former West Ham United academy director, Tony Carr, shows you how to terrorise the opposition from out wide

Wingers come in all shapes and sizes, with a range of skill sets. You have the lightening quick pocket rockets such as Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott, then there’s the precision specialists like David Beckham and Angel di Maria. And of course there’s Ronaldo, who can do it all and rattle up goalscoring tallies more akin to the school playground.

Whichever area of expertise a wideman possesses, the challenge of the coach and their team-mates is to play an expansive system that gets the best out of their strengths.

More after the break

This requires the team to stretch the opposition and feed them a regular flow of ammunition. Then, it’s about movement – not only to lose markers and find space for a shot, but to create room for the winger to exploit and deliver crosses from.

To show you how to achieve this objective, FFT linked up with former West Ham United academy director, Tony Carr and the Nike Academy, to observe a training session on getting the best out of your widemen.

"In this drill you don't want the attacker to the ball in first time, you want them to take the ball to the byline and as he's running with that ball, look for the option,” explained Carr.

"You will have a three versus two in the box, with the midfield player supporting, so he's looking to place it right across the face of goal, looking for the cut back for the late run into the box or the chip to the back post.”

With the tools in place, it ‘s then up to the player in possession to stay calm and pick out an unmarked team-mates.

"The decision is with the winger, it's not the coach's decision, the set up is there, but it's up for the wideman to make that decision for himself and choose the right option,” added Carr.

"You're trying to unlock a packed defence, get round the back and show that bit of composure and not force the cross.”

Tony Carr is head coach for EA SPORTS’ Love Football Play Football campaign, enabling FIFA 12 fans to transfer their gaming skills from their thumbs to their feet. Watch more exclusive tutorials with Tony starring Wayne Rooney and Vincent Kompany at

Also see:
Tony Carr: Finishing from crosses
Tony Carr: Playing off the target man
Tony Carr: Switching play
Tony Carr: Hitting a team on the counter-attack
Tony Carr: Making the killer pass
Tony Carr: Playing out from the back

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