Wingers play a special role in many positions in football. Players who play in this position typically have great pace and superb dribbling ability. Their role involves providing cut-backs or crosses from which strikers can score. Wingers feature in many attacking formations in football, as they support attacks from the wings.
Wingers who play from the left flank of the pitch are known as left-wingers.
Thanks to their creativity, goal-scoring, and defensive functions, wingers are some of the most dynamic players on the pitch of play. Gone are the days when wingers were often given the duty of just manning the touchline and whipping in the cross into the box.
There are a lot of talented left-wingers in football today who distinguished themselves with noteworthy performances in various competitions. Here are the best left-wingers in the world in 2023.
1. Kylian Mbappé
Paris Saint-Germain winger Kylian Mbappe scored 29 goals and made five assists in 34 League appearances last season.
Although, Mbappé is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world because he can play there, but when he features on the left wing, there’s no players better than him.
The French man was in good form, and not even a FIFA World Cup break in December could stop him.
Rather, he took the World Cup in his stride and delivered an exceptional FIFA World Cup campaign in just his second appearance at the Mundial, helping France to the final and scoring a hat-trick in the final against Argentina, as well as totaling eight goals in seven games for the Les Blues.
He’s already started the new season picking up from where he stopped last season with five goals in three Ligue 1 games.
He is a versatile forward who is capable of playing as a second striker or centre-forward.
2. Vinicius Jr.
Ten goals and nine assists in 22 La Liga games last season was certainly a drop from the 17 goals and ten assists recorded in the 2021/2022 season when Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League and the La Liga double.
However, Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior remains in the top five of the best wingers in world football currently, and it’s a testament to the growth of the resilient forward who played his first FIFA World Cup for Brazil in Qatar.
The 23-year-old has only scored one time in three La Liga games this season, but a lot is still expected from the player whose greatest strength is not necessarily speed but his dribbling and finishing.
He is expected to be a huge drive in Real Madrid’s attack this year, and by next season, he could be troubling defenders alongside Kylian Mbappe if and when he joins Real Madrid.
Under Carlo Ancelotti, the Brazilian has improved a lot in his decision-making, positional sense, movement, and close control, which has made him not just one of the best left-wingers in football but also among the top wingers in the world right now.
3. Heung-Min Son
South Korean international Heung-Min Son dropped his second poorest performance as a Tottenham player last season with a “paltry” 16 goals contribution with ten goals and six assists in 36 Premier League games last season.
With the exit of his partner-in-crime Harry Kane, he has taken up the responsibility head-on, scoring three times in four games already as the captain of Tottenham Hotspur.
Irrespective of his statistics from last season, the South Korean still remains one of the best left-wingers in football; his speed, two-footedness, his finishing abilities, and his ability to pick up his teammates in a goal-scoring position are top-notch.
4. Rafael Leão
It’s hard not to see why Rafael Leão was heavily linked with a move away from the San Siro during the summer, not after scoring 15 goals and making eight assists in 35 Serie A games last season for the Italians.
Not just last season, he has been a menace and a thorn in the skin of every Serie A defender’s last two seasons.
He’s already started the season in like manner, and injury permitting, we might be having his best season yet in terms of productivity.
Leão packs strength and pace; his finishing skill is undoubted as he has always scored consistently since emerging into the football scene.
5. Kaoru Mitoma
Kaoru Mitoma is one of the least productive on the list but certainly not out of place.
His performances for Brighton last season have had many international media houses pulling out his University thesis, which was research on dribbling.
This was because, before last season, Kaoru Mitoma was virtually unknown not just to the whole football world but even to Brighton football club fans whom he played for.
Before the end of the season, he had the whole Premier League and even European clubs talking about him as the Japanese international helped the Seagulls qualify for the UEFA Europa League, scoring seven goals and five assists for Roberto De Zerbi’s team.
He is one of the best dribblers in football, and also turns up in the big games.
6. Jack Grealish
We know Jack Grealish’s name will definitely raise some eyebrows, but the addition of the Englishman is justifiable with his contribution to Manchester City’s treble last season, having handled the left wing position for Pep Guardiola’s side.
He played in all their UEFA Champions League matches on the way to the final, and in the Premier League last season, he recorded seven assists and five goals in 28 games.
His performances reminded fans of what he looked like at Aston Villa before Manchester City called.
His style of play helps him draw fouls from the opposition as he often drives the ball into tight spaces and plays a part in defense.
7. Leroy Sané
Leroy Sané may still be a disappointment to many Bayern Munich fans who expected him to do better on the backdrop of his performances as a youngster in the Premier League.
However, there is no denying that despite eight goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga last season and the fact that he is yet to hit double digits in a single season in the Bundesliga at Bayern Munich, he remains a very difficult winger to defend against.
His skillfulness is undeniable as he is one of the fastest in the game even though his goal’s return can be better.
His pace, first touch, and directness in style of play make it difficult to defend against the German international, who has had to struggle with injury problems at the Allianz Arena.
8. Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford is one of the most experienced names on this list, and he has not just made the list because of his experience but also because it’s too difficult to look away from his form for Manchester United last season, especially after the FIFA World Cup.
The 25-year-old had the best season of his career, scoring 17 goals and five assists in the Premier League for Manchester United and scoring a further six in the UEFA Europa League. He’s Manchester United’s best striking option currently.
Although Rashford is a versatile player who can play as a centre forward or a winger, he usually prefers to play on the left side of the field.
He likes to play on the left because it gives him the chance to cut inside and shoot with his stronger right foot. Rashford also enjoys dropping back to collect the ball and help build up the team’s attack.
9. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
Just like Kaoru Mitoma, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia was also an unknown entity at the start of last season for Napoli, but the Georgian would go on to play a big part in Napoli’s title win.
His combination with Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen worked to a devastating effect as Napoli went on to win the league title.
The 22-year-old did double-digits in goals and assists in 34 League appearances, scoring 12 goals and 10 assists in only his first season with Napoli.
The Georgian forward possesses exceptional speed, dribbling skills, and the ability to create and score goals.
He is a deadly left winger capable of cutting inside to shoot with his right foot or take on defenders on the outside and deliver accurate crosses
10. Gabriel Martinelli
Gabriel Martinelli continues to improve season in season out at the Emirates Stadium.
Although his performances last season, were not enough to secure him a place in the Brazil starting XI, he has cemented his status as one of the best left-wingers in the world.
He scored 15 goals and five assists in the Premier League as Arsenal challenged for the title last season, and it’s obvious that the Gunners have an exciting talent on their hands.
The Brazilian is known for his agility and explosiveness on the field. He has the ability to dribble past multiple opponents to create or score goals, making him a dynamic player. He looks up to Cristiano Ronaldo as a role model, who is considered a natural template for any goalscoring wide forward