Date: 4th February 2011 at 1:18pm
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"Do not, call me Fabio!"

"Do not, call me Fabio!"

Gary Neville, what can you say? He had  United in his blood, he had all the passion and desire of a winner,  defeat was never an option, the ball was always there to be won, and  if he missed the ball he damn well made sure he got the player (Reyes  springs to mind).

His game was about adaptation and hard work – and  as we know, it took him to the very top of English football – and he  will go down in history as a man who has won every major honour at club  level.

However if we wanted to flip the coin  just for one moment and look at what he did not have, and he would be  the first to admit, was the natural skill and technical ability of a  great footballer; I can immediately and without any hesitation tell  you a man who does possess those things – Rafael Da Silva.

In this very odd season of being told  we are not playing well yet remaining unbeaten, I firmly believe what  we are witnessing is a boy who once had huge potential, turn into man  who is extremely hungry for success.

At 20 years old Rafael has had his longest  run in the Manchester United first team and my word he has made the  most of it.

Like every player who makes an appearance  for our club, the pressure to impress is intense as not only do you  have the fans watching your every move, but it seems the World Media  are waiting in hope that a debutant will make a mistake – and after  giving away penalties at Hull and Manchester City in 2009/2010 – then  getting sent of in the Champions league, in which many say was the turning  point and the reason we were knocked out by Bayern Munich – you could  probably forgive the lad for going back into the reserves for another  three years and hiding…. oh no, not this boy..

I imagine he asked one of the veterans  in the dressing room how to endear himself to the faithful because I  certainly did not know he had it in his locker to square up to Tevez;  this small yet memorable incident made us all take notice and it reminded  many of us our Gary, and believe you me, it was exactly what us fans  wanted to see – If you had’nt already fallen in love with this boy from  Brazil then that was surely the moment he won you over!

The flamboyant full back runs down the  wing like the Brazilian legend Cafu, has the confidence to play infront  of 80,000 fans at such a tender age and the attacking mindset that all  South Americans seem to have, so what does he need? Guidance.

Being sent off away at Tottenham this  season may have been harsh but it was avoidable. I guess we can put  it down to age and experience until the next time it happens – and believe  me, without an arm around his shoulder, it will happen again.

With the likes of John O’Shea and Wes  Brown fighting for the same position, Sir Alex must beleive this boys  has talent if he can keep these well established, fully fledged house  hold names out of the starting 11.

My conclusion to this somewhat obvious  article is that I expect the retirement of Gary Neville will be to the  main benefit of Rafael. Like most Brazilians, we must assume he will  peak at a very young age; Romario, Ronaldo, Denilson, Rivaldo, Roberto  Carols, Kaka, Ronaldinho, the list is endless of World Class Brazilian  footballers who seem to have their best days before their 27th birthday,  then hit a downward spiral – so what Rafael needs is somebody who has  been there and done it, to help him grow into the number 2 shirt for  the next 10 years.

I want you to think about this question  seriously;

Could you imagine if Gary Neville, with  all his winning traits and hard working mentality, had the unbelievable  skill set of a Brazilian?….It would have been frightening

Now think about this….What we could  find ourselves with is an exceptional young Brazilian footballer with  pace, skill and technique who then goes on and develops all of the fighting  attributes and raw passion of our former right back due to additional  time spent together on the training field, and my word that thought  it exciting!

Follow Nathon on Twitter @Nathonw


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