We brought in Chris Smalling, Javier Hernandez and the apparent emergence of Tom Cleverley seemed like we would be better equipped this year and although many had banked on us signing a certain German midfielder, most were pleased with how we shaped up coming into the season especially after we dismantled Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Yet once the season started another problem area appeared to have crept up on us unnoticed and is still glaringly obvious, the lack of a first choice and settled right back.
In the position we have a wealth of talent and experience in the form of John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Gary Neville as well as the wild card Rafael but the fact not one of these players have staked their claim as first choice has seen uncertainty and thus it has affected our performances. On Saturday it is no coincidence that Everton’s last two goals came down our right side and this isn’t an isolated incident. West Ham found joy attacking our right side with Dyer coming up against O’Shea and Simon Davies also when we played Fulham.
Wes Brown’s injury problems have ruled him out for now and he seems to have been relegated to cover, Neville is vastly experienced and in his day was one of the finest in the position not only in England but also the world but at his age he isn’t the player he was and without Valencia protecting him he looked quite vulnerable. John O’Shea missed a large part of last season with that thigh injury after becoming the club’s first choice right back and now is still looking to regain the form that saw him do this.
Thus for me and most fans it is a rather obvious decision who should be starting week in week out, Rafael.
Last season he showed he was more than capable to undertake the responsibility of playing at the top level and although he did make mistakes, notably against Tottenham and Bayern Munich, it was roundly agreed that with experience these mistakes would quickly disappear. He offers something different to all other contenders for the position in terms of attacking as well as athleticism.
As I said before many said the errors he makes can be worked out with experience but how will he if he is constantly sat on the bench? At just 20 he has shown the capability to come up against the best of the world and hold his own as he did against Ribery and if he is given the chance now we could have a ready made right back for years to come as he will have worked on these mistakes sooner rather than later.
It is apparent that Rafael is going to be the next long term right back at the club bar injury or disaster, so I as well as everyone else are pretty confused as to why he isn’t being eased into his role a touch more vigorously.
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