Defensive Wingers use their defence skills to help prevent wing attacks of their opponents from succeeding, while still retaining some offensive capabilities from their wing skill and passing skill. Defensive wingers still contribute approx. 50% of their PM to the midfield rating just like normal or offensive wingers do.
Defensive winger is not normally used as a usual positioning, but rather as a response to an opponent with unusually high wing attack ratings. An ideal Defensive Winger closely resembles a Wing back or Offensive wingback.
Defending: High defending skill is a key for this position.
Winger: Winger skill is still rewarded with this order, unlike Winger toward middle which has the wing skill diminished significantly. The recent game engine changes have increased the effect of the wing skill of defensive wingers, while further handicapping the wing contribution of a WTM.
Passing: Unlike a Defensive inner midfielder, the passing of a Defensive Winger is not diminished by playing the player "defensive". Their wing skill suffers, but there is no mention in the rules about a loss of passing. This favours a Defensive Winger with high Passing.
Defensive Winger vs Winger Towards Middle (WTM)
WTM Pros: - Higher Midfield rating equals less need for defence (less chances by opposition)and equals more chances for a team's offence to score
WTM Cons: - Wing attack rating declines sharply - " 1 more chance is traded for 1 less attack side".
Def Winger Pros: - Targetted defense ideally suited for countering AOW (rather than AIM as a counter) - Potential for a reasonable attack ratings using a lower % of wing skill and an unchanged passing skill.
Def Winger Cons: - Less midfield contribution.
Why use a Defensive Winger?
- A Defensive Winger will shore up wing defence without sacrificing central defence (as with using a CDTW). This may be particularly useful against a team with one strong wing attack and a strong central attack – if you defend on their strong wing, you still can attack from the other wing.
- Against a team with only two good wing attacks, playing one Defensive Winger would leave only 1 "weaker" wing defence. The Defensive Winger may cut their viable attacks in half, significantly increasing your chances of winning.
AIM is generally not a good strategy to employ against a wing-focused team, as it will weaken your wing defence even as you focus on your opponent's weaker center.
The HT team has made modifications over the past several seasons to enhance the value of secondary skills and underused primary skills. The effect of past and anticipated future modifications may mean that there will be more Defensive Wingers plays:
- The recent game engine changes have favoured wing attacks
- The introduction of FTWs may mean more teams concentrating their attacks on the wings.
- Wingbacks and other players suitable for the Def Winger order may become more popular and more plentiful than they are today.
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