Rafael Da Silva: Still a Teenager, But Has Bags of Quality

ZedContributor IDecember 18, 2008

Many would have doubted that an 18-year-old full back would break into a team as impressively as young Rafael da Silva has. Signed along with his twin brother Fabio, all Manchester United fans were optimistic about the Brazilian who has quickly established himself to be United’s first choice right back. He has been chosen ahead of Gary Neville and Wes Brown this season—and his performances have shown why.
He loves to attack, there is no doubt, but surprisingly it’s his defensive qualities that have shocked everyone. He is calm and composed most of the time and is a really good tackler of the ball, and is driven with heaps of determination.

Remember when United were trailing 2-0 to Arsenal. As he was on the touchline waiting to come on, the young teenager was jumping up and down raring to go. When Rafael was brought on he made an immediate impact giving Man Utd more dynamism on the attack.

It wasn’t only the extra attacking number he gave United, it was the way he dealt with the Arsenal defense so well. His tackles were accurate, he went for every challenge. He nearly turned around the game when his left-footed volley deep in injury time gave us hope of getting an equaliser.

When he played in the Manchester derby he was given the tough job of dealing with Robinho. Yet at the end of the day, Robinho was left looking forlorn—all because Rafael was too good for his Brazilian counterpart.

He has the passion to play for such a big club, and seems to be under no pressure when he’s on the field. He may not be able to speak the English language, but his understanding of the game is outstanding. For a player that is preferred ahead of two experienced full backs is an achievement, certainly at the age of just 18.

Even Sir Alex has admitted that young Rafael has been United best right back this season:

“Gary and Wes are England’s best right full-backs,” said Ferguson. “But they have a little problem because this young boy Rafael has really taken off. All the players, Gary included, are so supportive of him. They think he is fantastic.

"It is rare for someone to come through like he has done. When Gary did it, he had help. He was among six or seven young players all together, like a band of brothers. This lad doesn’t speak the language that well but he understands the football very well.”

He is only 18, but has already shown his quality at top level football. He’s still a teenager though, and who knows what adventures are up next for Rafael Da Silva.