Rafael da Silva has cemented his place as Manchester United’s first choice right-back for years to come this season.

Rafael was voted Man of the Match for his performance against Everton last weekend by Sky Sports and viewers of the club's official website: www.manutd.com.

This season, the 22-year-old full-back has really matured and developed into one of United’s regular starters, and is set to keep his place for the foreseeable future.

Before the 2012/13 season, the young Rafael was in and out of the team, vying with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones for the full-back positions.  There were times when Sir Alex Ferguson would opt to play Smalling and Jones ahead of Rafael, simply because he felt they had better defensive qualities.

But this season Rafael has become more disciplined and whilst not losing any of his marauding attacking play, he has improved his defensive qualities and is establishing himself in United's back line.

Rafael joined United in 2008 from Brazilian outfit Fluminense, making his debut as a substitute at the start of the 2008/09 season against Newcastle.

At 22, there is still room for further improvement, with Rafael facing a challenge to get into the Brazilian set-up as the likes of Dani Alves currently stand in his way. 

But if current form is anything to go by, and given that age is very much on his side, Rafael can go from strength-to-strength as he makes the right-back slot his own at Old Trafford.

Surely it won't be long before he's a regular for Brazil too?


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