It was only a few years ago when I had a conversation with my work colleague Jeremy that I suddenly realized how your favorite position on the soccer field has a profound impact on how you view the sport.
Let me explain.
Growing up, I played every position on the pitch at one time or other. But the position I loved playing the most was midfield, especially on the wings. In hindsight, I may have had an affinity to playing as a winger because of watching one of my boyhood heroes David Giles, who would later go on to play for Crystal Palace and Birmingham City, tear down the wings at Swansea. Even today, I love seeing wingers with pace and dribbling skills who are gutsy enough to take men on and bomb down the wings.
Having played as a left winger and right winger during childhood and on a travel team and into high school, I didn’t realize it but my lens on soccer was framed by my years playing as a winger. The realization was very apparent when my friend Jeremy and I were talking about defense, his favorite position, and which defenders were strong and which ones were awful. I remember him singling out Tal Ben Haim when he was at Chelsea. But for a former winger such as myself, the weaknesses of Ben Haim’s game wasn’t as apparent to me because I was still thinking like a winger. Jeremy could see things with the Israeli defender that I would never see. Experience goes a long way.
So as someone who used to play down the wing, footballers such as Gareth Bale and Adam Johnson light up my day when I get to see them perform at the top of their game.
But what about you? Which position was your favorite when you played soccer? Who are your favorite current players in that position? Share your stories in the comments section below.