Rafael has arguably been United’s best defender this season, holding down his right back place and proving that he’s a much better full back than plenty of people will give him credit for.
His brother Fabio has been on loan with Queens Park Rangers, which was partly a move designed by Sir Alex Ferguson to help him mature and become less dependent on his brother.
Regardless of QPR’s current plight and the fact they will go down at the end of the season, Fabio has gained some crucial experience and has been able to improve his game to a point where he will challenge for the left back slot on his return to Old Trafford.
For Rafael it’s going to be a case of carrying on the excellent form he has shown so far throughout the season.
He needs to improve his game slightly in a physical sense to stop himself from being bullied off the ball by bigger wingers, but overall he’s playing very well whether it’s going forward or coming back.
If he is able to improve his position when he’s tracking back then United are going to have a very solid back four next year, capable of holding out much more firmly than we saw at the start of the season.
Rafael has definitely benefited from playing next to more experienced defenders like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, which has helped him to improve his decision making.
For Fabio it’s going to be a case of waiting to get a chance and then making the most of it.
He’s got Patrice Evra, another very experienced defender, and Alexander Buttner to compete against, which means it could be very difficult initially for him to get into the side.
However, once he’s there he does have all of the core skills needed to be able to replace Evra in the long term.
His pace is always going to make him useful flying down the left and providing extra width in the side and it’s also helpful in terms of ensuring he gets back into position once an attack breaks down.
He too will have to bulk up physically if he wants to play a long string of games for United, but he can be just as effective as his brother, certainly in the attacking third of the pitch.
They are both very young and very passionate players, who are great long term prospects for the club. If Fabio can take that chance when it comes, the Da Silva brothers could become two of the best full backs the team has ever had.
Can Fabio overtake Rafael next season?
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