Football

Rafael artistry gives Fergie dilemma

Rafael artistry gives Fergie dilemma
Rafael artistry gives Fergie dilemma.

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Brazilian teenager Rafael Da Silva is now an integral part of his first-team squad.

The 18-year-old has been handed starts against Aalborg and West Brom in recent weeks and Ferguson now accepts he has another selection dilemma on his hands at right-back with club captain Gary Neville and Wes Brown also vying for the position.

"In football, when a guy turns the corner you cannot do anything about it," he said. "Rafael is a great talent and his performances are telling me I have another problem at right-back."

At Champions League level, Aalborg did not offer much of a threat, leaving Rafael to attack down the right flank at will.

Saturday's clash with West Brom was somewhat different. While the result was eventually quite one-sided, the Baggies gave a decent account of themselves during the first half.

The pace and power of West Brom winger Chris Brunt provided Rafael with a tough examination of his talent, which is just what Ferguson wanted to see; a reminder of the task a similarly-aged Brown faced against Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink when he encountered Leeds a decade ago.

"Wes himself came in at 18, played against Hasselbaink in his first game against Leeds and he was superb," said Ferguson.

"It is a learning process playing against that power and experience. Premier League football is not easy.

"I didn't realise how big Brunt was and what a nice left foot he had, so that presented a challenge for Rafael.

"For periods in the game he was finding his way and it was only when I was going to take him off that he started to play the way we know he can."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
West Bromwich Albion
European News
Football
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Chris Brunt
Wes Brown
Alex
Gary Neville
Leeds United

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