RM vs RW

RM vs RW – What’s The Difference?

Last updated on March 12th, 2022

You may have encountered the terms Right Midfielder (RM) and Right Winger (RW) before when watching football. Or maybe, you may have seen these when playing FIFA.

What are these 2 positions, and how are they different?

Here’s what you need to know:

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The difference between RM and RW

A Right Midfielder is a player who contributes to both attack and defence of his team, especially in control of play on the right flank of the pitch. Meanwhile, the Right Winger plays in a more advanced position on the wing. His primary function is to provide and finish goal-scoring opportunities for the team.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of these 2 positions:

Position on the field

Both of these players are usually positioned on the right side of the pitch.

An RM is positioned on the right side of the midfield  

The RM is the midfielder positioned on the right in a 4-2-2 formation. They are typically placed close to the right touchline, from where they help create chances for attack and also to defend.

An RW is positioned further ahead in an attacking trio

The RW is usually on the right end of the attacking trident, with the Striker and Left Winger, which mainly contributes to the team in terms of goals and assists. In a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 formation, they are essential to the team’s right flank.

This is similar to the difference in positions for a winger and a wide midfielder.

Common numbers associated with these positions

In the past, squad numbers were used to indicate players’ positions. However, the rules are more flexible now, allowing on-field players to wear any number they can choose.

Right wingers are usually associated with the numbers 11 and 7 shirts. However, right midfielders are not traditionally associated with any shirt number.

Role

Both of these positions have very well-defined roles:

An RM provides support to both ends of the right flank

The right flank is usually marshalled by an RM, as these players are present in both attack and defence on that flank. This set of players support the attack by passing the ball forward to the attackers, supplying crosses into the box, and making forward runs to complement the attacking output.

Right Midfielders also help the defence by pressing for the ball once possession is lost. They also help by tracking opposition runs and defending the wide areas alongside the fullbacks.

An RW’s primary role is to be an attacking threat from the flank

An RW, along with the other attackers, helps create and capitalize on attacking opportunities for the team. They are tasked with both the scoring of goals and the creation of chances for their other teammates. 

Depending on the tactical setup, the RW also provides a minimum amount of defence in either low blocks or pressing schemes.

Unlike the RM, the RW, like the other attackers, is usually not burdened by defensive duties. Instead, this player’s primary responsibility is to stay high up the pitch and create danger from the right flank.

Traits required for these 2 roles

Here are some traits that these 2 positions should possess:

A right midfielder, like the CMs, must be an excellent link in both attack and defence, and they are required to perform in both areas to support their teams. 

In addition, their position in the middle part of the pitch is expected to help their team dominate the flanks. 

As such, they are not expected to take unnecessary risks and make costly mistakes.

Hard-work and Efficiency

A good RM is hard-working in defending, pressing and attacking. They showcase this by making runs and creating chances as well as pressing the opponent and making ball recoveries. 

Great Ball Progression

An RM is an essential link between attack and defence; hence they are crucial in moving the ball from the flank and providing options for the attack

As such, being a competent ball carrier will greatly help your team!

Good Width and Possession Play 

The RM of any team also help keep hold of the ball depending on the team’s approach. Right Midfielders are also crucial in extending the team’s passing lanes and options as far wide as the touchlines. 

These characteristics help sustain the team’s possession and their width on the pitch.

Good Crossing Skills

The Right Midfielder will be a significant source of crosses into the box, which provides opportunities for the attackers to score. As a good RM, you should deliver good crosses for your teammates.

Speed and Agility

The Right Midfielder needs to be fast and agile to exploit the spaces on the flank for attack and assist the back-line in pressing for defence. 

The agility of an RM also helps for good transitions in attack to defence and vice versa. 

An RW is an attacking threat

Compared to the RM, the RW is not usually bothered in defence but only shouldered with providing much-needed danger from the wide areas. The threat they possess help to ensure the team’s success in creating and finishing chances. In essence, the right winger is a massive pillar of the team’s attack.

Hence, they are meant to be technically gifted and proficient in the final third.

An RW should be a good dribbler

The RW will find himself in possession many times in the wide areas and will have to cut into the box to create chances for the team. Thus, he should possess excellent dribbling skills to evade the opposition’s press and get himself into good positions to create chances.

Good passing skills

To fulfil the role of an RW well, you need to have great passing abilities. Good right wingers usually help their attacks by delivering crosses and cut-backs to their teammates in the box.

Also, right wingers make use of through balls, crosses and one-twos to supplement the attacking threat.

An RW must be pacy

Right wingers are typically fast to help satisfy a quick buildup in attack and also beat their opponents in ball duels.

This quality also allows them to outpace the opposing defence when on the counter-attack. 

An RW must have a high understanding of the game

The RW must also be aware and insightful enough to recognize suitable spaces in the opposition attack.

This awareness allows them to make dangerous runs for the team and create opportunities.

An RW must have great positioning and timing

The RW must also possess the ability to be in the right place at the right time to create good chances for the team.

As a right winger, you should also be proficient at timing your decisions in terms of passes and runs.

An RW should be a good goalscorer

The modern game has seen wingers shoulder the burden of goal-scoring just like strikers did in the earlier stages. Most great wingers nowadays are very proficient goal scorers and tremendously help their teams this way. The RWs must possess great finishing abilities in front of the goal. 

However, it is also possible for defenders and goalkeepers to score goals too.

The types of RWs that embody these qualities are the inverted wingers. This modern position places the left-footed players on the right wing. This positioning allows them to cut in on their stronger foot to shoot at the goal or even deliver crosses to their teammates.

Famous examples

There are many famous examples for each of these 2 positions: 

Right Midfielder

These are some of the top RMs in football:

#1 David Beckham

The Englishman came into the limelight as a crucial player in Manchester United’s historical team of 1998/1999 that won the treble under Alex Ferguson.

After his triumphs at United, he played at several other great clubs such as:

  • Real Madrid 
  • AC Milan
  • Paris Saint-Germain
  • LA Galaxy 

As a result, he has many accolades to his name and is widely acknowledged as a legend of the game.

#2 Luis Figo

The Portuguese legend was a highly efficient player that tremendously contributed to his teams via his technicality, vision, agility and creativity. His style of play brought him much success, including the 2000 Ballon d’Or award

You can view a comparison between the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s The Best awards here.

Figo notably played for Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter. In all these clubs, he ably achieved great success at every level and cemented his place as an all-time great.

#3 Victor Moses

The Nigerian midfielder played for Chelsea, Liverpool, and Inter, achieving great success. Moses was proficient in attack and defence, making him a viable asset for all his teams.

He notably won the African Cup of Nations with his country, Nigeria, in 2013 and has inspired many African players in the next generation.

Right Winger

The position is played by many players of great talent, some of which are:

#1 Lionel Messi

The Argentine is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to ever grace the pitch. He has been an immense feature in the football world since his emergence in 2006. Since then, Messi has won numerous Ballon d’Or trophies.

He has achieved a great deal with his dazzling style of play that provides goals, assists and beautiful moments for his teams.

Messi‘s massive accolades have come with Barcelona, where he spent a significant portion alongside the ‘MSN’ trio. 

He also won the Copa America trophy with his native country, Argentina. 

#2 Mohammed Salah

Another tremendous player, Salah, is regarded as one of the best players of the past decade. Ever since he emerged at Fiorentina, he has blossomed at every turn and achieved great things.

Salah’s major accolades are with Liverpool and his country, Egypt. His deadly and direct playstyle combines pace, dribbling and finishing to provide a great asset for every team he plays. 

#3 Gareth Bale

The Welsh player is famous for all his wondrous deeds on the pitch. He emerged from Tottenham in the early 2010s and later rose to prominence at Real Madrid.

Bale‘s style of play comprises devastating speed, pacy dribbling and powerful shooting. This skill set has helped him lift his club to glory as he played a crucial role in many of Real Madrid’s European triumphs.

Conclusion

Here is a quick comparison between these 2 positions:

Right Midfielder (RM)Right Winger (RW)
PositionOn the right side
of the middle pitch
The right side of
an attacking trio
Common
Numbers
NIL7 and 11
RoleAssist both the
attack and defence.

Provide crosses and width
to the team’s attack.
Create chances
and score goals.

To be a constant
attacking threat.
Skills
Required
Hard-work 
Good ball possession
Good crossing
Chance creation
Great passing
Good goal-scoring
Pace and dribbling
Famous
Examples
David Beckham
Luis Figo
Victor Moses
Lionel Messi
Mohammed Salah
Gareth Bale

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