While recently admitting that he hasn’t been good enough this season, Antonio Valencia has lavished praise on maturing defender Rafael Da Silva and has backed the young Brazilian to become “one of the best right backs in the world.”
Rafael has been earning plaudits for his experienced and consistent displays throughout the season. When on form, he enjoys an almost telepathic understanding with Valencia with the two linking up well, despite the Ecuadorian’s poor performances this campaign.
Speaking about Rafael’s progress this season, Valencia said: “It’s incredible how much he’s improved.
“I’ve seen a big improvement in his level of concentration. If he continues, it won’t be long before he’s one of the best right-backs in the world.”
It has been quite the season for Rafael where he has been a virtual ever-present. He is firmly in the hunt for a clean sweep of end of season awards including goal-of-the-year after a thunderous strike against QPR as well as a beautiful curler against Liverpool in September.
The South American pair dovetail brilliantly for United with Valencia’s tactical and defensive understanding complimenting the adventurous, marauding streak Rafael possesses.
Patrice Evra and Michael Carrick are the only outfield players to have started more games this season and the 22-year-old full back has established himself as a ‘Mr Consistent’ type figure for United.
Whether Rafael becomes the best full-back in the world remains to be seen. However his hunger, passion and maturity stand him in good stead to make it to the top and if his recent performances against a certain Cristiano Ronaldo are anything to go by, he certainly has the ability.