Former Netherlands and Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben has admitted worries that coaching in the modern game has resulted in the fading out of wingers like him.
The 2010 World Cup finalist cited his own career as evidence that the role of a winger has changed dramatically.
Arjen Robben’s career: Five things to know…
- Arjen Robben represented five clubs during his career, scoring 151 goals in 420 senior appearances.
- The winger also scored 37 goals for the Netherlands.
- He won 12 league titles, including eight Bundesligas and two Premier Leagues.
- Robben added eight domestic cups with six coming with Bayern Munich.
- The Dutchman was also named in Uefa’s Team of the Year in 2011 and 2014.
The Dutchman feels that wingers are being asked more and more to drift inside, a characteristic that epitomises his style of play, as he became famous for cutting in on his left foot from the right-hand side to shoot.
This style of play has already seen the success of players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Neymar to name a few.
“In my youth-team days, I was always a left-winger who would stay close to the byline and put crosses in the box, so I could never cut inside and shoot,” Robben told FourFourTwo.
“It was only when I joined Real Madrid and started playing in a more central position, and then on the right wing, that I suddenly realised I had a really dangerous weapon.
“I’d say the most important thing is always retaining an element of surprise, so I can carry on scoring goals like that.”
Robben believes that his one-sided striking ability proved a strength rather than a weakness, claiming that he’d rather have one excellent foot than two good feet.
“I can’t do anything with my right foot but I’ve made it to the top. Modern coaches want young players to work on both feet, but I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.
“Some players have got one very good foot, so you then have a question: Do you make that foot exceptional, or work on both and maybe just have two very good feet? Maybe players should focus on maximising the potential of their strongest foot?”
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What was Arjen Robben’s best moment?
In a professional career spanning 19 years, Robben played for Groningen, PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
The Dutchman has had some great moments, one of which is his late winner against rivals Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final for Bayern Munich, coming a year after he had missed a penalty in the 2012 defeat to Chelsea at the Allianz Arena.
Robben will also be remembered for another Champions League goal, knocking out Manchester United in 2010 with an audacious volley at Old Trafford.
For the Netherlands, Robben ran riot at the 2014 World Cup, scoring a two goals against Spain in the group stage to help avenge the 2010 final.