Rafael has been to make the right back spot his own this season, after having shared duties with a number of player previously and his showing have been more than convincing. Excellent going forward as well as sharp but controlled defensively, the Brazilian has won plaudits from all.
Aged 22, he has begun to mature and Sir Alex believes this has seen a change in his game:
“Rafael was our best player on Saturday.
“He’s maturing and learning all the time and he’s blessed with great enthusiasm to play. He has good skill, speed, determination… he has all the qualities and maturity brings all those qualities together. Bit by bit he’s done that in the last two or three years.
“Last year and the year before he was impulsive, over-commiting himself. He knows that and we’ve been over it a few times. But he’s maturing fantastically.”
And Rafael himself agrees but won’t rest on his laurels, instead aims to continue improving:
“I think mature is the right word. I’ve learnt to hold a little bit. I always want to know more and read the game more to find out what a player is going to do next. I’m definitely more mature.
“The way I play for United has changed a bit and maybe that’s why fans are looking at me differently. I’m playing more maturely and I’m scoring goals as well. I hope I can keep improving.”