Date: 13th September 2010 at 3:00pm
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At the end of last season if you had asked fans which position caused them most concern I’m pretty sure you would have heard in midfield, up front or even at a push center back or in goal.

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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7 responses to “Have we allowed this problem to fly under the radar?”

  1. jonathan says:

    I fully agree and hope to see a lot more of Rafael. Giggs was recently quoted as saying he was the best young right back in the world right now. Probably a bit biased, but he wouldn’t just say something like that casually.

  2. Roger says:

    Good point – we need to establish a natural first choice at rb. Sir Alex often talk about hos important it is to have established players at cb and I can’t see why it shouldn’t be of equal importance in every position. Gary Neville is to slow and so afraid of getting caught out due to lack of pace, that he’s laying far to deep when defending, and also holding back when we’re attacking.

  3. sp says:

    i agree but it seems like he only gonna play in big games where his mistakes will be even more magnified

  4. Seodevilz says:

    Just the article I was looking out for. I pointed this out in Zonal Marking’s analysis of the game against Everton.

    I’m not hating on Neville and it may be that he still has what it takes. And ever since last season, what i’ve seen from him, despite a few good performances, I still feel that his time is up.

    It would be good to have Wes Brown as regular as I truly missed the days of the double winning campaign few years back when he was rock solid and played the most no. of games among the rest that year!

    But I completely agree that the time for change has come and Rafael should rightfully be installed as our 1st choice right back.

    His only flaw imo would be his composure. He is reckless at times. But only by playing regularly, with the help of Vidic, Evans and possibly Rio beside him, then can he learn and be a top class right back in the world.

    He has all the attributes needed to be our first choice.

    The ball is now in SAF’s court now. I hope he makes the right decision.

  5. L.Mayne says:

    I firmly believe Rafael should be the first choice right back but I think the two main reasons why G.Neville started against Everton was to give him a game after a lengthy time out (and what better game to get your fitness up then against a determined and equipped everton side) and also because of experience in a hotly contested away game. I personally feel Rafael should start week in, week out also but I do understand why Fergie started G.Neville, be it a mistake or not.

    Hopefully this will be the game that Fergie realises that Rafael should hold down the right back spot.

    Good post again!

  6. Lool says:

    Haha G.Neville was never the best RB in the world.

    Even on his day he was never near as good as the legendary Cafu.

    I agree with Rafael though, he had Ribery in his pocket until he received his marching orders.

    • Chudi Onwuazor says:

      If you bothered to read the piece properly, it said ‘one of the finest’ not ‘the best’ a claim not even you can refute!