Best Position For Left Footed Soccer Player (Top 3 Revealed)

Whether a player is left- or right-footed is never a problem in soccer; there is always a spot for both. In fact, because left-footed players are rarer than right-footed ones, they are in even greater demand. But what is the best position for a left-footed soccer player?

The best soccer position for a left-footed player is on the right wing. This is because it allows the player to cut inside and shoot with their stronger left foot. Other positions suitable for a left-footed player are left wingback and left-sided center back.

It may sound strange to put a left-footed player on the right wing but fear not, as I will explain exactly why in this article. I will also explain other positions suitable for left-footed players and give you some examples of the world's best left-footed soccer players.

Best Soccer Position For Left Footed

Being a left-footed player in soccer is likely to be more of an advantage than a disadvantage. This is because the majority of soccer players are right-footed.

The exact statistics are difficult to determine and change year on year. Yet most statisticians agree that the number of left-footed professional soccer players is between 10% and 20%.

Because of this, there is always a need for left-footed players in a team. 

Left footers are often used to take direct free-kicks on the right side of the field. This is because the natural swing of the ball is more likely to hit the target from that side of the field if it's shot with a left foot.

They can also be utilized as an extra option to take corner kicks. This is because a left-footed player can play an out-swinging corner from the left side of the field or an inswinging corner from the right side.

However, the biggest appeal of left-footed players is the positions they fill. There are a handful of positions that really suit a left-footer. I will go through them now.

1. Right winger (inverted winger)

It may seem counterproductive to put a left-footed player on the right side of the field. But the greatest left-footed players of all time have played in this soccer position.

Let's take a look at why.

Why is it good for a right winger to be left-footed?

The reason it's good for a left-footed player to play on the right wing is because it allows them to cut inside and shoot with their stronger foot.

When people say "cut inside" or "cutting inside" in soccer, they mean moving the ball from the side of the field to a more central area to shoot at goal.

This is done by kicking the ball sideways with the outside of the winger's strong foot or sometimes with the inside of their weak foot.

If successful, the defender is caught off guard, and a yard or two of space is freed up for the winger to shoot at goal with its stronger foot.

Cutting inside means the winger must play on the opposite side of the field from where their strongest foot is. This means that a left-footed player must play on the right wing.

A winger who does this is commonly referred to as an inverted winger.

This video shows how to cut inside:

Should a right winger always be left-footed?

No, a right winger does not always need to be a left-footed player. Basically, it depends on what the coach's tactics are for the team.

Let's say that a team's wingers are very good at shooting. In this case, the coach will likely instruct his wingers to shoot more by cutting inside as much as possible.

If the coach does indeed want his wingers to shoot at goal, then yes, its best for the right winger to be left-footed.

However, if the coach feels his wingers are better at crossing the ball, having them cut inside would make no sense.

So let's say the coach instructs his wingers to cross the ball more often. Then, in this case, the right winger would need to be right-footed instead.

This is because it's much easier to cross the ball with the inside of your foot. So unlike wingers who cut inside, it would actually be easier to play on the same side of the field as your strong foot.

Examples of left-footed right wingers:

The tactic of having a winger cut inside and shoot has been utilized by some of the world's best players.

Here are some examples of the world's best right wingers who were left-footed:

  • Lionel Messi (Barcelona, PSG)
  • Arjen Robben (Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern Munchen)
  • Mohamed Salah (Chelsea, Roma, Liverpool)

2. Left wingback

The second-best position for a left-footed player is the left wingback. The same can be said for the left fullback, which is a very similar position.

Why is it good for a left wingback to be left-footed?

As I've already discussed, it is very common for a team to use inverted wingers. However, this means those wingers are not crossing the ball.

When this is the case, the team will need a player in a different position to provide the crosses. This is where the left wingback comes into play.

Suppose the left winger is cutting in to shoot. In that case, this means that the left wingback (or the left fullback) will have the responsibility of getting forward and crossing the ball when possible.

When crossing the ball into the box, a player will achieve much better accuracy by using the inside of their foot to shoot the ball.

Because of this, it means the left wingback would benefit greatly from having a strong left foot.

Unlike inverted wingers, a wingback is expected to play on the same side of the field as their strong foot. This is so that they can cross, pass and even intercept the ball with their stronger foot.

Should a left wingback always be left-footed?

If a left-footed player is available, the left wingback should indeed be played by a left footer.

However, left-footed players are sometimes hard to find. This means that a right-footed player may sometimes need to play in the left wingback position.

If this is the case, then it's good to find a right-footed player who is confident at either crossing with the outside of their foot or crossing and passing with their weaker foot.

A good example of a right-footed player who plays excellently at left-back is João Cancelo. Unsurprisingly, there are many more examples of successful left-backs who were left-footed.

Examples of left-footed left wingbacks:

  • Roberto Carlos (Inter Milan, Real Madrid)
  • Marcelo (Real Madrid)
  • Patrice Evra (Monaco, Manchester United, Juventus)

3. Center back (left side)

Surprisingly, the left center back is actually the third-best position for a left-footed player. Let me explain why.

Why is it good for a center back to be left-footed?

There's a term to describe some of the world's best teams, and that term is; balanced.

When you look at a pair of two center backs, you may not realize how important it is to have a left-footed center back. However, the modern version of soccer makes this a much more common requirement for successful teams.

Teams with lots of ball possession rely not only on good passers in midfield, but also at the central back position.

For teams such as Manchester City and Real Madrid who dominate the ball, the center backs are just as much a part of the build-up play as any other position.

Therefore, it makes sense that the left center back is also a strong passer with their left foot.

It also helps with natural movement. When defending the left side of the field, it just makes sense for the defending player to be strong on their left foot for simple tasks like intercepting and turning.

What can happen when a right-footed player plays as a left-sided center back?

For example, John Terry was always a right-footed center back. However, when playing for England alongside fellow right-footed center back; Rio Ferdinand, Terry was asked to play as a left-sided center back.

This led to Terry making numerous mistakes for England that many saw as something that did not fit him as a player and would never happen if he played on the right side for Chelsea.

Should a left center back always be left-footed?

It is best when the left center back is also left-footed. This makes it much easier for the player to defend the left side of the field and take care of the build-up from the back.

A right-footed player can sometimes play as the left-sided center back, especially for a less successful team that clears the ball away more than they pass out from the back.

However, a left-footed center back positioned next to a right-footed center back simply provides more balance for the team. This is often how the best teams in the world play.

Examples of left-footed center backs:

For these examples, I will also include their right-footed center back partners to show how important balance is for the top teams.

  • David Alaba (left footed) with Éder Militão (right footed) for Real Madrid
  • Aymeric Laporte (left footed) with Rubin Dias (right footed) for Manchester City
  • Presnel Kimpembe (left footed) with Marquinhos (right footed) for PSG


To conclude, the best left-footed players in the world have always been right wingers. These inverted wingers succeed by cutting inside and shooting with their strong left foot.

Playing as a left wingback or left fullback also benefits left-footed players that are good at crossing. While the modern-day version of soccer also requires a left-footed center back to bring balance to a team's defense.

November 11, 2022
Published: November 11, 2022