To this day, ball carrying is one of the most important moves in the skill set of a deep, fast and aggressive winger. On them often depends the team’s depth, getting into the final third and putting in crosses or passes into the box when they’re not directly shooting on individual play.
As we do on many occasions, there are a multitude of metrics that together or separately will give us clues as to a player’s style of play and the way in which he is capable of unbalancing in the opposition half. Some of the best wingers in the world, as in this ranking of the top 25 in progressive runs, base their game on carrying and progressing the ball into the final metres.
This metric measures the drives that bring you closer to the opponent’s box, being considered progressive if the player advances 30 metres when starting and finishing in his own half; if he advances 15 metres starting in his own half and finishing in the opponent’s half, or if he advances 10 metres starting and finishing in the opponent’s half, three criteria that make it possible to be used for different positions and to be able to extract valuable information.
A paradigmatic example of a winger with deep and aggressive driving that does a lot of damage to the opposing defence is Kaoru Mitoma, being one of the wingers with some of the longest drives, crossing the pitch and reaching the box at great speed. The Japanese is a key part of Brighton’s unique game, a player hugely boosted by his coach’s thinking, who allows him plenty of opportunities to run for many yards.
In the first position is Ousmane Dembélé. The Frenchman, in only 252 minutes of play, has already produced some of the most explosive runs in the French championship, on the right wing of Paris Saint-Germain, providing almost 10 progressive runs per 90 minutes, more than any other winger in the big leagues.
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