“Wingers are the ones who set the goals for the strikers, the ones who need to be on their toes for the whole 90 minutes, the ones who pierce the backline of the opponents. Indeed, having skilled wingers is a crucial aspect which leads to winning laurels for any club.”
As we take a lookback at the recently concluded season, here we present the Top 5 Wingers who impressed us the most, and also stood out statistically. Although there were tons of brilliant performances; these 5 players bettered their past track record and have definitely left a mark attributing to their sheer pace and silky dribbling. The further mentioned players will be definitely knocking the doors to be in the contention for a spot in the Indian National team.
TOP 5 : Individual Performers
5) FARUKH CHAUDHARY
The boy from Ambernath, who started his career in Mumbai, had made his way to the top tier league as he joined Kerala Blasters FC on a loan back in 2016-17. Having debuted for the National team in 2018 against China, he is yet to solidify his place in the national team. Farukh was tremendous last season as he scored a goal and assisted 4 goals. Owing to his physicality and pace he can definitely fit into more central positions but his heatmap attests that he can definitely gel well as an outright winger.
Farukh has pelted in 30 crosses, 9 of which were headed as they were intended. With an accuracy of 30% he stands second in our list in terms of accuracy. He successfully passed 17 times into the box in search of the goal. The Right winger can boast of his creativity as he likes to swirl the ball into the back of the net with a bicycle kick or a clinical chip at times.
4) MICHAEL SOOSAIRAJ
The Mr. Versatile, Michael Soosairaj has doubled up as left winger and also as midfielder for ATK. Having started his career with Chennai City FC, he earned a promotion to the ISL as he played for Jamshedpur and later on for ATK. Predominantly operating on the Left wing in Coach Habas’s 3-5-2 formation, Soosairaj was marshaling the conveyor of passes to the final third, day in day out. Having scored 3 goals for his side, the winger went on to win the title albeit he played at an unconventional position.
Soosairaj might have botched up a bit in crossing accuracy, with a ratio of 4 successful crosses and 40 failing to land upon the target. Still his passing camouflaged over the aforementioned trait. With over five tons of passes and an accuracy of 62%, Soosai has matured in terms of setting up the play. Sharp dribbling, sheer pace can just sum up Michael Soosairaj as he would look forward to emboss his name on the Indian teamsheet.
3) JERRY Mawihmingthanga
Having graduated from the DSK Shivajians youth setup, Jerry has also trained at the Liverpool academy. The Mizo winger bolstered Odisha FC’s attack as he dominated the right wing. Jerry has evolved throughout his years at Northeast, Jamshedpur and Odisha and can be penned down owing to his fantastic crossing abilities. He has the best crossing accuracy out of all the players in this list, having an accuracy of 35% with 22 successful crosses out of 63.
Jerry has scored 2 goals and assisted 5 in the last season. In fact he paired up well with Aridane to give OFC the upperhand at crucial times. He created as much as 5 chances with a passing accuracy of 54%. The winger likes to press high up the pitch, and likewise he will definitely stir a healthy competition in the Indian setup for the coming years.
2) JACKICHAND SINGH
The 28 year old winger is definitely on the peak of his career after regaining momentum in the past couple of seasons. He perfectly fitted in the philosophy of coach Lobera as he was extremely agile at the wings for FC Goa. Telem Jackichand Singh was initially spotted by Royal Wahingdoh back when he used to play for Army Academy. With his credentials, he helped Wahingdoh get promoted from the second division to the then first tier I-league. Later he gained plethora of experience in the ISL with FC Pune city, Mumbai City FC, Kerala Blasters and FC Goa.
He netted in 5 goals and supplied 3 goals in the last season. Having crafted as much as 9 chances, Jacki had a passing accuracy of 55%. With a crossing accuracy of 26%, he successfully lobbed the ball in 20 times. Indeed, by the virtue of his performance, Jackichand has yielded a move to Jamshedpur where he’ll be striving harder for reaping sweet-er fruits.
1) LALLIANZUALA CHHANGTE
The then second youngest Indian goalscorer, Lallianzuala Chhangte fondly known as ‘Zola’ has been in some proverbial hot form. An absolute sensation for the Chennaiyin FC, Zola captivated the left wing and will definitely be one of the hot picks for the National Team setup. Chhangte hails from Mizoram and was also a part of the DSK Shivajians Youth squad. Alongside his teammate Jerry he went to the Liverpool Academy too. Zola also made it in headlines as he clocked an invincible top speed of 35.80 km/hr and overtook global icons like Lionel Messi.
ISL season 6 was absolutely phenomenal for Chhangte as he went on to score 7 goals. He was elemental in Chennai’s dream run as they qualified for the playoffs and went on to play the finals, from the bottom of the table where it seemed just mathematical and nearly impossible to make a comeback. In terms of chances created he crafted as high as 12 chances with 9 successful crosses. Chhangte even tops this list being the one with most number of passes (637) and with a decent enough 56% passing accuracy. Lightning pace, quick feet and goal scoring instincts attribute Lallianzula Chhangte.
As Indian Football fans, it’s simply great to relish such talents performing brilliantly and creating a constructive and competitive atmosphere for the forthcoming generations. Extending best wishes to everyone and hoping to witness many more of such splendid performances for the coming years.
STATS CREDITS : SportsKPI
IMAGE CREDITS : ISL Media
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