Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva has returned to Manchester after suffering from a groin injury in a training session in Denver on Friday. The Brazilian did not feature in the 3-2 victory over AS Roma because of the injury. At the time the injury was sustained, manager Louis van Gaal stated:
“We’ll have to wait and see [on his injury] but we know he cannot play [on Saturday].”
Because of the injury Rafael sustained in the training session in Denver, it was unlikely that he would feature in any of the remaining two matches, in which a third could be added should United win their group in the Guinness International Champions Cup. This has resulted in Rafael being returned to Manchester where his injury will be assessed at the clubs AON Training Complex in Carrington. It is a shame for Rafael, but he has become more susceptible to injury over the last few seasons.
As you can see by the table shown above, Rafael’s injury record has not been all that good. Injuries are not really something you can avoid and it is also something that United players have had more than their fair share or over the last few years. United currently have no other right-back in the first team and have used Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia as cover in the position. At the moment Louis van Gaal’s 5-3-2 variation formation does not use a right-back as such, and against AS Roma on Saturday, the first half saw Valencia in that position with Ashley Young in the second half.
Rafael is a good player going forward, he can be rash at times and more recently injuries and lack of form have dogged his career, a career whereby he should be playing to the best of his abilities. I like Rafael and during Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season, in which United won the Barclays Premier League finishing eleven points above their rivals, Rafael was playing to the best of his abilities. I want to see more of that Rafael and it is a shame injury has stopped that from happening again. Hopefully he will be fit to far Valencia at Old Trafford on Tuesday 12th August, failing that, the Barclays Premier League opener against Swansea City four days later.