A versatile and hard-working forward, Mertens is a fast, creative, diminutive, and agile player, with a low centre of gravity, who possesses good technique and dribbling skills, which enables him to get past opponents when in possession of the ball. Possessing good vision, passing, shooting ability, movement off the ball, and an eye for goal, he is known for his ability both to score and create goals, and is capable of getting onto the end of passes or creating space for himself or his teammates by making attacking runs into the box. His favoured role is as a winger on the left flank, a position which allows him to cut into the centre and strike on goal from outside the area with his stronger right foot, although he is also capable of playing on the right, and has even been used as an attacking midfielder by manager Dick Advocaat. He is also an accurate free kick taker. During the 2016–17 season, following the departure of Gonzalo Higuaín to rivals Juventus and an injury to the club’s main striker Arkadiusz Milik, Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri frequently deployed Dries Mertens either as a main striker, or in a false nine role, seemingly positioned as a lone centre-forward, rather than as a left winger, where he had previously faced competition from Lorenzo Insigne for a starting position; Sarri’s tactical change was met with great results, and Mertens’s goalscoring output increased dramatically as a result of this switch.