We hate to be haters. We don’t think that, generally, we are. But we do like to offer a voice for all the readers who have a bone to pick with elements of the football world.
Many of our readers have a problem with the current Manchester United manager and, while we don’t want to get on his case too much, we feel that the current criticism needs to be voiced.
Because, these are critical days in the history of Manchester United. The fans of the club want more than they are getting and they need reassurance that their beloved institution won’t be terminally ruined by the current regime.
One player who we feel represents the current malaise at the club perfectly is Brazilian Rafael da Silva. This season we have been scoffed at, by many, for talking about him in such rich terms.
Da Silva is a player who has been in and out of the side this term due to injury and David Moyes apparent, sporadic preference for the height of Chris Smalling at right back. Yes – Chris Smalling – the man who looks like he’s juggling, bare feet, with a hot potato every time he’s in possession down the flank.
A year ago things where very different. Rafa was a shoe-in at right back. He was the first choice full back and he looked as if he would nail down the position for a decade. Furthermore, he looked happy and was clearly enjoying his football.
A year on and Rafa’s future is highly uncertain with some rumours suggesting that he could be sold by the club in the summer.
We feel David Moyes’s coaching of Rafa symbolises the problems at the club. Never mind spending a fortune on new players – David Moyes simply isn’t getting the best out of his current crop.
Noone is going to convince soccersweep that da Silva doesn’t represent very high grade raw material. He’s the perfect modern full back in the making – a potential Brazil legend.
He’s adventurous, technically superb, loves to get forward and has a great delivery – crucial in an era when conventional wingers are used less and less. He makes the odd mistake at the back but, like the highly successful Patrice Evra in his pomp, has the pace to recover when he is caught out. Rafael can also score you the odd beauty and has true tenacity. The sort of spirit and competitiveness only seen in the cream of sporting talent. He’s an absolutely brilliant player. And a true Manchester United player.
The fact that Moyes has turned this guy from one of the best prospects in world football to someone who is regularly behind the clumsy, hapless centre-back Chris Smalling in the pecking order is yet another damning portent as to the coaching ability and man-management of David Moyes.
We think that it would be an absolute crime to let him go and then spend £20m on a replacement who will never be as good. Rafa da Silva or Seamus Coleman? Do we even need to give you an answer to that one?
A report by The Guardian from 2008:
Sir Alex Ferguson has said that Manchester United have England’s best two right-backs — but neither of them are his first choice any more.
“Gary and Wes have a little problem because this young boy Rafael has really taken off,” said Ferguson. “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 amongst 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.”
“Rafael has all the attributes to become one of the best full-backs in the world and I am delighted he has signed a new contract.”
Rafael said: “I am so happy to sign a new contract. I love playing for Manchester United. There is a great team spirit here and a real desire to win. My time here has been unbelievable.”
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