Football Features

The best wingers at Euro 2024 ranked

By Harry Edwards

The best wingers at Euro 2024 ranked

Published: 10:00, 10 June 2024 | Updated: 17:44, 16 June 2024

There aren’t many better sights in football than a winger at full speed.

Whether they’re using their pace to beat defenders or technical ability to weave through the back line, it’s football at its best. And we’re set for a treat this summer.

Euro 2024 will host 24 of Europe’s best teams and among them are some flying wingers. The question is, who’s the best?

To create a list, we’ve used the Twenty3 Discovery Tool to find the best wingers and created a ‘Squawka Score’, which is based on 29 different metrics, including goal contribution, non-penalty xG, open-play xA, touches in the opposition box, open-play chances created and big chances created.

For this list, we’ve looked at players playing in Europe’s top seven leagues. We also limited our search to players with over 1,500 minutes in the league this season, to have played at least 50% of their team’s games in 2024 and with a realistic expectation to start on the wing for their nations at Euro 2024. So that does rule out Ousmane Dembele, who only started six league games for PSG in 2024, and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia who will play up front for Georgia.

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5. Bukayo Saka

  • Country: England

We’ve heard the conversations so many times this season about whether Bukayo Saka is world-class or not. But surely there’s no doubt that he is. The Englishman was directly involved in 25 goals in the Premier League in 2023/24, with 16 goals and nine assists, being crucial as Arsenal finished second in the Premier League. He also posted a non-penalty expected goals of 10.77, 8.49 open-play expected assists and had 287 touches in the opposition box.

For England, Saka feels like one of the guaranteed starters under Gareth Southgate, with other players being placed around him in the XI. He has 11 goals in 32 caps for the Three Lions, including three at the 2022 World Cup.

4. Rafael Leao

  • Country: Portugal

Rafael Leao may have slightly dropped in scoring goals from his previous two Serie A campaigns, but he remains one of the most dangerous wingers in Europe. The 24-year-old scored nine goals and provided nine assists in the 2023/24 Serie A season, which is still a commendable amount. He also created 18 big chances in Serie A, while posting an open-play xA of 8.02.

Leao only played 45 minutes in four games for Portugal between November and March, but he missed two games due to injury and was rested for one-and-a-half matches. He recently returned to action in pre-tournament friendlies against Finland and Croatia, playing 45 minutes in each.

When it comes to it, he will start on the left wing, having made that role his own over the past year or so. He even has a good return at the 2022 World Cup to build on, scoring two goals in just 83 minutes.

3. Leroy Sane

  • Country: Germany

Bayern Munich had an underwhelming Bundesliga season, giving up their domination of the league and eventually finishing third. One of the stories was Leroy Sane’s goalscoring drought, but he was a threat with his assists even when he wasn’t finding the net himself. The German scored eight league goals and added 11 assists, with an open-play xA of 7.78. He also had a non-penalty xG of 10.94 and created 16 big chances.

For Germany, Sane has been a favourite of Julian Nagelsmann in his front line, and he’s likely to play on the wing this summer. Last year, Sane had two goals and an assist in eight starts and though he did miss three games through suspension, he returned with an assist in Germany’s 2-1 final pre-tournament friendly win over Greece.

2. Johan Bakayoko

  • Country: Belgium

PSV won the Eredivisie with 29 wins from their 34 games this season and an incredible 111 goals scored. Johan Bakayoko was directly involved in 21 of those goals, scoring 12 himself and providing nine assists. A constant threat, Bakayoko had 193 touches in the opposition box, completed 91 take-ons and had an open-play xA of 10.03.

It’s form that has seen Bakayoko become a regular starter for Belgium and it looks as though he will form one-third of their front three, with Jeremy Doku potentially on the other flank. He has one goal and two assists in 12 games for Belgium so far, and is one for the present and future.

1. Jamal Musiala

  • Country: Germany

Surely it can’t be fair that Germany have two wingers on this list. And then you’ll probably throw in Florian Wirtz playing in between Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala. In the eyes of some, Musiala will be an attacking midfielder, but the Bayern man has been playing on the wing. He scored 10 goals and provided six assists in the Bundesliga, with 87 take-ons completed and 39 fouls won. His dribbling is exquisite, so good luck to the defenders trying to get the ball off him.

As with Bayern, Musiala has been utilised on the wing and it is probably the best way to get all their attacking talent in one XI. As Germany looked to have turned a corner at the start of 2024, Musiala provided assists against both France and the Netherlands. That said, he’ll be hellbent on improving his record of just two goals and five assists in 29 senior caps.

Squawka Score metrics and weighting

Here are the metrics used and the weighting given to each metric to come up with the overall Squawka Score:

  • 5: Goal Contribution, Goals Scored, Assists, Open Play Expected Assists, Non-penalty Expected Assists
  • 4: Touches in Opposition Box, Percentage of Open-play Chances Created that are Big Chances, Percentage of Sequences Featured In That End In A Shot, Big Chances Created, Conversion Rate, Big Chances Created, Shots On Target
  • 3: Successful Passes Into Box, Take-Ons Completed, Shot Accuracy, Retention Rate, Ground Duel Success (%), Fouls Won In Final Third
  • 2: Shots, Open Play Chances Created, Take-Ons Attempted, Shot Placement, Take-On Success, Fouls Won
  • 1: Cross Completion From Open Play, Possession Turnovers, Possessions Won In Attacking Third, Turnovers, Open Play Crosses Attempted, Through Balls Attempted, Final Third Passes Completed