Manchester United defender 'wants to stay forever' - can he prove himself to van Gaal?

Rafael 2

Manchester United right back Rafael says that he wants to stay at Old Trafford forever - but he needs to be a consistent player under Louis van Gaal.

Manchester United had quite the summer as Louis van Gaal arrived as the club's new manager. After a disappointing seventh place finish, the Dutchman embarked on a stunning spending spree over the summer, as Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao all arrived, totalling over £150m as the Red Devils splashed the cash.

Van Gaal has tinkered with his formations already; the 3-5-2 system that he used to take the Netherlands to the World Cup semi-finals was used and then abandoned after some struggles, and he then moved to more of a 4-1-2-1-2 with a diamond in midfield, which saw United hammer Queens Park Rangers 4-0.

Versatility is valued under the Dutchman, and one player who fits in both the 3-5-2 and 4-1-2-1-2 systems is full back Rafael. The Brazilian has been at Old Trafford since joining from Fluminense in 2008, and was a key player under Sir Alex Ferguson as he made the right back spot his own.

Yet Rafael endured a frustrating season under David Moyes, with form and injuries meaning he was in and out of the team on a regular basis. In fact, Rafael didn't even start this season as the first choice right wing back despite his attacking prowess, as van Gaal chose to play Antonio Valencia instead.

The 24-year-old earned a start against QPR and played well, and should continue to keep his place in the side given that he is by far United's best natural right back - and in a Q&A session on United's official website, Rafael revealed that he wants to stay at the club forever.

"I am glad I am still here. I want to keep going and stay here forever, if possible. It depends on me to play well, I need to play well. I just want to stay here."

After signing a new four-year deal in 2012, Rafael is contracted through to the summer of 2016, and will need to impress van Gaal in order to earn another one - and if he can prove his fitness in the coming weeks, then the Brazilian may well be handed the chance to stay for some time yet.

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