While many believe that Phil Jones is the long term captain elect at Manchester United it might not be such a foregone conclusion. Because, if Rafael Da Silva continues on his current trajectory, he may well offer a realistic alternative for the club and team captain position in years to come.
Both clearly have a big part to play in the present and future of Manchester United. We all know about the qualities of Phil Jones. But RvP aside, Da Silva has been the stand out performer for United this season.
As the Champions League tie with Real Madrid illustrated, there is much room for improvement in the right-back and he still shows signs of naivety at times. By jumping in too quickly he was exposed badly on a couple of occasions in the first half of that massive clash in Madrid. He was lucky to get away with those two glaring errors in that opening period but, as a great portent into his future, the Brazilian didn’t panic after those mistakes. Instead he got his head down and redoubled his concentration. He grew into the game where many would have crumbled and ultimately came out of the tie with credit, having blunted the attacking intent of Cristiano Ronaldo throughout the second period of the game.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that Rafael is becoming one of Manchester United’s star players. He’s got everything. He’s lightning quick, has a great engine, defends as if his life depends on it and has a more consistent delivery than some of the wingers in front of him.
His goal at the weekend was the latest in an impressive portfolio of strikes for Manchester United. But, perhaps what really sets him apart as a potential great, is his temperament. Rafael looks as if football is the only thing in this world that matters to him. He’s very tenacious and doesn’t doesn’t let his head go down when the pressure is on. And, even at the tender age of 21, he’s not one of the quieter players in the team. He likes to encourage and, at times, berate his team mates, regardless of their seniority.
In short Rafa is a manager’s dream and will be the number one right back at Manchester United for as long as he wants to be. With his brother Fabio getting vital minutes for QPR this season, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if he too cements his place in the side in the next couple of years.
Rafael Da Silva is already one of the best right backs in Europe and could go on to become an all time great at Manchester United.