Whilst John Terry is the de facto captain in South Africa, his brother Paul is looking for a new club after his contract with Rushden & Diamonds expired at the end of the season. We’ve seen it here at United too with the Neville brothers, Gary became a stand out and is probably one of the best right backs we have had at the club whilst Phil struggled to get into the team (don’t get me wrong Phil was one hell of a player and I still remember the job he did on Vieira in December 2002 as we beat Arsenal 2-0).
Jonny Evans and Cory Evans both look exceptionally talented but they aren’t the brothers that I am concerned with here.
I remember when the Da Silva brothers were signed, Fabio came highly rated and was held in higher regard than Rafael. It was Fabio who captained Brazil’s u17 team at the 2007 World Cup and was the team’s top scorer. It is reported that Fabio first began playing on the left so Rafael could break into the team and take over the right flank role he previously occupied and Rafael can often be heard stating his brother is considerably better than he is but tracking their United careers you would never have guessed.
Rafael is now the brother that has United fans and pundits excited with his all action displays down our right flank. The way he shackled Franck Ribery in the Champions League lead many to believe he has a bright future in the game despite some age induces mishaps.
So what happened to Fabio? And what does the future hold?
Fabio has shone in the reserves but due to injuries at unfortunate times Fabio just hasn’t had the chance to make the same kind of impact as his brother.
Fabio has picked up all manner of injuries but last season was fit for large chunks of it too, the form of Patrice Evra was probably the main thing that kept him out of the team but due to playing all of those games when it came to the business end of the season, Evra looked like he was burned out and we had no Fabio to step in and give Evra a rest.
There has been talk of Fabio going on loan to Sporting Lisbon which was met with a mixed response. Some think getting regular games would see his injuries decrease whilst others would prefer for him to remain at Old Trafford and take his chance when it comes.
In Evra, Fabio faces his biggest problem. Rafael was lucky to emerge at a time when the right back spot was there for the taking. With Neville’s age and injuries and Wes Brown and John O’Shea both being injured too Rafael seized his opportunity with both hands and this is something Fabio will be looking to do this coming season. If Fabio can get more playing time it’s likely his injuries will abate and thus putting him in contention for a place at left back when Evra looks like he needs a rest, is injured or is suspended.
Fabio and Rafael are both outstanding prospects regardless of who is better and there is no reason beyond bad luck that both can’t forge careers at the club.