Some would say Rafael da Silva has the quality and spark we need. The others would say he’s a liability and lacks everything we need. After having a star-studded season in 2013, it’s all gone down hill. He’s lacked ambition and the defending skills needed.
Is Rafael the right defender for Louis van Gaal to succeed or will that be a key position he’ll look at to improve? Netherlands international Daley Blind looks to be a front-runner to be snapped up by Van Gaal; he is naturally a left back, but can also be played right back.
With the arrival of Luke Shaw and the likely departure of Patrice Evra, Blind could be the versatile player that can be cover for both Shaw and Rafael, if he is kept at the club.
Towards the end of last season, David Moyes had lost a bit of faith in Rafael. He began to play a centre half, Chris Smalling, out of position at right back. Rafael didn’t get a call up for the Brazil national team; a team that you could say lacks a right back. However, Maicon who could be said to be getting on a bit, and Dani Alves who could be said to be more of a liability than Rafael, had both been called up for international duty.
Ever since Rafael’s goal against Queens Park Rangers two seasons ago, he hasn’t really had the spark that we desperately needed last season. Some would say he never showed the quality that we needed since the Olympics when Brazil lost 2-1 to Mexico. There were many varied opinions on who to blame for the first goal; reported by Goal.com the Brazil Football Confederation wrote:
“Rafael knows he made a mistake that led to the first Mexican goal in the Olympic football final in the London 2012 Games.”
This kind of criticism can leave a player dented for life, and it looks like that has happened to Rafael.
Rafael’s excuse for his poor form last season could be his injury, or like everybody else’s, David Moyes. Rafael was hit with injuries all the way through the 2013 – 2014 campaign, which saw him lose his place at right back.
Personally, I feel that Rafael has too much adrenaline. He goes out on the pitch and from the first minute it’s as if he wants to prove himself instantly, instead of pacing himself and getting hold of the game. He rushes into tackles, lucky not to get a red card most of the time; although he does deserve some credit for having an eye for goal and not being afraid to make an effort.
If Sir Alex Ferguson saw something in Rafael to play him through the title-winning season, then I think Van Gaal should see the same. Both managers are alike, so for Rafael’s sake, let’s hope he brings the old right back we loved from the title-winning season. For Rafael, all that I think he can do is keep his head down and train hard. He shouldn’t over do it (considering he seems so prone to injury)- he just needs to work hard to impress the manager and keep the fans happy.
Should Rafael be in the first team? Is he the quality Van Gaal is looking for? What now for Rafael?
This article was written by Liam Hulme, who is part of our Academy writing team. Please make your comment on this article if you agree or disagree with the comments raised in this article.