Sunday, 4 November 2012

Rafael Da Silva To Be As Good As Neville, says Fergie

Rafael Da Silva is being tipped to rival Gary Neville as Manchester United's best ever right back.

Reds boss Alex Ferguson is now convinced the young Brazilian will spend the next decade patrolling United's right flank having seen him mature over the last six months.

And he is so impressed with the 22-year-old's natural ability, he is already talking him up as capable of challenging Neville's exalted role in the club's history books.

Ferguson said: "He can develop the kind of career Gary had, definitely, there’s no doubt about that.

"Gary was not the finished article when he came into the team, he was lucky in a sense that he came in at a time when we were trying to push forward all of our young players but Gary got better and better and better and became a fantastic full-back, probably the best the club has ever had.

"But it did take time for him in terms of his use of the ball and his crossing, all of these things developed because he wanted them to develop and he worked at it.

“Now Rafael is definitely more of a natural right-back because Gary came to us as a centre-half and had to change his game.”

There have been changes to Rafael's game as well. In his early days at the club he was lured into crazy tackles and lost his discipline when called upon to defend.

That drove Ferguson mad, but the Scot stuck with him having seen just how dangerous the kid could be making his surging runs forward.

Ferguson added: “He was making mistakes in games because of his rashness.

"He pulled Franck Ribery’s jersey and got sent off against Bayern Munich in 2010, but that was a ridiculous sending off anyway.

"He once chased Ronaldinho across the pitch in Milan and left his position and they went on to score.

"It was that kind of thing, but he was only a kid and only young. We invest in young player's futures and we get repaid at some point and that’s what’s happening with the boy.”

And Ferguson could not be happier.

Having watched him star in the Brazilian national team during the Olympics, the Reds boss believes Rafael has come back to Manchester a smarter player.

He said: "He’s been fantastic. He did have the rashness and impetuosity of a young boy before.

"He loves the game, he trains like a beast, never misses training and he’s just a football fanatic.

"When he goes home in the summer he goes into his street team and plays every day back in Brazil.

"It’s phenomenal. We were hoping that somewhere along the line that maturity comes along and the rashness disappears and his form this season has been brilliant."

It's not just his football brain that Ferguson believes has developed, but also his body strength.

"He’s tougher now," he said. "He’s really tough. He’s got that great enthusiasm and energy to play.”

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