Dan James, Victor Moses and six other wingers who mastered the art of flattering to deceive

Flattering to deceive is an art form in soccer, and few do it better, or as often, as a pacy winger.

We all love a winger. It's universal and something that unites all soccer fans.

There really is nothing more likely to get you off your seat than watching a speedy winger scorch a full-back.

New Leeds United signing Dan James is certainly one player who can do that, but like many flying wingers the end product doesn't always match the promise.

So, with that in mind, we celebrate wingers who mastered the art of flattering to deceive.

Dan James

Even if you didn't catch James' increasingly sporadic appearances for Manchester United, Euro 2020 should have taught you all you need to know about James.

He consistently looked like Wales' most dangerous player, yet the end product was never really there.

There is definitely a player in there somewhere and you'd back Marcelo Bielsa to bring him out, but right now Dan James is firmly in the 'flatters to deceive' category.

Jesper Blomqvist

Blomqvist was tipped for the top early after emerging in Sweden for IFK Gothenberg, with comparisons to Ryan Giggs immediately made.

He was definitely as quick as Giggs - without the ball at least - and he had the chance to compete with the Welshman for a place in the Man Utd team after a failed spell in Italy.

However, while Blomqvist had the pace, he never had the delivery, and too often he powerfully yet gracefully danced down the left for next to no reward.

Things didn't get any better for him at Everton either, and he ultimately failed to fulfil his early promise.

Victor Moses

There is no question that Victor Moses has talent. Physically he is a beast and you don't play for Chelsea, Liverpool and Inter Milan if you're not a quality player.

He has never really been convincing for any of them though, and the same can be said of Crystal Palace, Wigan, Stoke, West Ham and all the other clubs you forgot he played for.

Moses won a Premier League title and FA Cup winners' medal with Chelsea, so you have to give him his due, but he was almost always more frustrating than he was effective.

Adama Traore

Some will argue there is no more exciting player to watch in the Premier League right now than Adama Traore, and they might just have a case.

The Spaniard is without question the strongest and most powerful carrier of the ball in the division - famously covering his arms in baby oil before matches to prevent defenders from being able to get a hold of him.

And yet, Traore is at his third Premier League club and he hasn't really established himself as an indispensable force for any of them.

So, while many will laud Traore as the most exciting player in the Premier League, there will be plenty more arguing he is the most frustrating.

Jesus Navas

Speaking of speedy Spaniards who flattered to deceive, we really need to talk about Jesus Navas.

Navas played more than 120 games for Manchester City in a four-year spell and he definitely had some big moments.

He was never someone you could rely­ on for those moments, though. For while he could beat defenders at will with the ball at his feet, he failed miserably when it left his boot, with even beating the first defender beyond him.

Aaron Lennon

Lennon is one of those players who feels like he has been around forever, and he has been doing the exact same thing for the entirety of it.

In a twisted kind of a way, you almost want to credit him for his unfailing persistence. For 18 years now he has been doing the same thing: Collect the ball, run it down the wing, look great, create nothing.

To be fair, it got him more than 250 appearances for Tottenham, 50 for Everton and 21 for England, so it's a home-run swing that has served him well. It's just never been as useful to anyone as it really should have been.

Theo Walcott

There are two defining truths when it comes to Theo Walcott: Firstly, he has had a fine career. Secondly, he was meant for a lot more than he has delivered.

Walcott was a precocious talent in his early years at Southampton, and you could maybe argue he joined the wrong club at the wrong time with Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger fancied him as a winger, not the striker Walcott saw himself as, and spent years trying to mould him into the role.

He was good, too, but it never looked like it came naturally to him. Even to this day, Walcott is a player who is able to get himself into great positions yet lacks that ruthlessness to make it count. He's not going to change now either, is he?


While Adama Traore is probably the most frustrating player in the Premier League right now, Manchester United ace Nani could well be the most frustrating player the Premier League has ever seen.

The Portuguese ace seemed to have it all: the power, the pace, the skills. What he didn't seem to have, though, was a soccer brain.

Nani would repeatedly work great positions for himself only to repeatedly make the worst decision possible.

He was the kind of player you wanted to love - and 147 apearances for United certainly gave the relationship a chance - but left you wanting to change the locks, cut up all their shirts and message an old flame on Facebook.

READ MORE: Who won the transfer window? Aston Villa? Man Utd? Daniel Levy?...

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