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Rafael To Start Against Celtic – Will he hold his nerve?

This morning, Edwin Van der Sar and Wes Brown were ruled out of tomorrow night’s game between United and Celtic.

Gary Neville has now been left out of the squad, meaning Rafael Da Silva is set to start at right-back. Considering this is a ground we lost at a couple of years ago, with an impressive, if not overwhelming atmosphere, will Rafael be able to rise for the occasion?

United set off for Scotland, leaving Neville, Brown, Van der Sar, Hargreaves and Scholes behind. Da Silva has been trusted with a starting position on a number of occasions this season, and it seems as though Fergie is set to give the lad even more experience in this important European clash.

Tomasz Kuszczak started for United last week against West Ham, but didn’t even have a place on the bench against Hull, making it more difficult to predict who will be playing in goal for United. Kus has had far more European experience than Foster, but surely the manager will keen to get Foster involved as much as possible after stating his intentions not to loan him out. Van der Sar is merely being rested, suggesting Fergie is keen to give Foster a go, in what could be seen as a baptism by fire.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. suhayl says:


    Rafa is talented and is the future no doubting it. But with THAT ATMOPSPHERE…Celtics very impressive home record, the fans, the blood guts and thunder they normally dish up esp a british derby, the parkhead night on bonfire night. the capacity for them to play old style english football…in the air, relying on corners and set pieces, using 6 footers when and where they can. This does worry me a tad

    Rafa has shown he is great on the floor against more cultured teams. Hence this could be a weak link esp v celtic. Think Wesleys or Gary’s experience + Height and heading ability and capacity to help vida and rio out was very important.

    So yes a tad concerned. Hopefully we can get a quick goal or two and deflate them and that raucous crowd very quickly. Cos the longer the game goes on with celtic still in it….that atmosphere and passion becomes hard to deal with for opp teams. Hence Wesleys and Nevos experience to deal with it all.

    Hope rafa prooves me wrong tho

  2. CJ says:

    he’ll be fine. WHy the heck would Celtic keep attacking that side with Ronaldo ready to sprint and wiggle his way down the pitch haha. He should be fine tmo

  3. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    Throw him in, see what he’s made of…

  4. Red-Manc says:

    Hope Foster starts in net, ive watched him in the reserves for a year or two now and he’s top class and always plays well whenever he’s put into the first team. Rafael should be fine he’s a young lad so will be eager to impress, dont think the atmosphere will be too much for any of the players because everyone is expecting it and we’ve been to played teams like Roma who’s fans(scum) are very loud and caused all that trouble with the police and fans so celtic park will be a nice place compared to stadio olympico where United have played a few times now.

    hope we beat them after the last time we played them at theirs, 3-1 to United Rooney,Ronaldo and Berbatov to score for United nakaruma free kick for celtic.


  5. Zae says:

    I would suggest it’s possible that O’Shea will start at right-back, not Rafael. But we’ll see.

  6. Primachenko says:

    considering our inclination to make things harder for ourselves, this might bite us in the ass.

  7. unitedgirl15 says:

    Rafael will be fine, as long as he doesn’t make too many runs forward and get left behind on a counter attack.
    And i prefer Foster to Kuszczak so happy days. :-)

  8. Manutd forever says:

    Really hope that foster starts in the net.rafael needs big match experience although i would still prefer brown,gary over him.manu should win if they don’t get to sleep.

  9. SteRDLK says:

    Sky Sports News said Foster and Rafael are starting, which is some vital experience for them

    I think this should be the team

    GK Foster

    RB Rafael
    CB Ferdinand / Vidic
    CB Evans
    LB Evra

    RM Ronaldo
    CM Fletcher
    CM Giggs
    LM Nani

    FW Tevez
    FW Rooney

  10. meko420 says:

    i honestly wad luv to c tha kid possebon start a game of this stature…he seems to b maturin rapidly with evry game he plays…





  11. RedMist says:

    Didn’t Fergie say the other day that he was thinking of starting Foster at Celtic anyway? Sure he did, so hopefully we will. Foster needs games and the sooner he gets playing the better, imo.
    As for Rafael i have no qualms what so ever about him starting. If he does, i’m sure he’ll do fine. He played at OT (and yes, i know it’s an entirely different proposition at Celtic) and for a kid so young he showed absolutely no fear. He looked like he was playing in his garden with his mates. Sure he might have a hairy moment or two but anyone can in a feisty Celtic atmosphere. It will be a great experience for him to get a fixture like this under his belt so early in his career. Not unlike Anderson last season against the likes of Gerrard and Fabregas, i think Rafael could shine on the big stage.

  12. Red-Manc says:

    Celtic fans create a really good atmosphere dont get me wrong but its in no way anything to be scared off, its not as if they are aggressive and sound treatening fair play to them for making alot of noise but if you find there atmosphere scary then you’ve never seen and heard the likes of Red Star Belgrade, Partizan,Olympiakos,Roma etc etc there the atmospheres that I can understand make players feel intimadated, if any players have a bad game and blame it on celtics atmosphere, then thats a poor excuse.

  13. Drew Vader says:

    Anyone else think we should maybe give Evra a rest for this game. I think O’Shea can do more than a job against Celtic, but if Evra does his hamstring or strains it or something, then Theo would have a field day against O’Shea on saturday. And i saw something today that Theo didn’t dislocate his shoulder and that he will probably start…

  14. Manutd forever says:

    @drew vader:i agree with u that john’o shea can do more than enough for us at celtic.
    Also if carrick has to play on saturday then he should be given some amount of game time at celtic to up his fitness level.

  15. Drew Vader says:

    Wow what a dive? How much coverage would that get if it was done by Ronaldo? But since its Gerrard, will it even get a mention?

  16. steve says:

    what a suprise gerrard dives yet again let’s see if the drunken moroans like collymore and some of the pro gerrard media say for themselves now. christiano ronaldo if you ever come accross this page my advise just dive again because if it is fine for gerrard to do why not ronaldo, but I forgot if you are not english then diving is a crime in this country.

  17. North Stand, Tier 3, Back Row says:

    you can fucking sing that. EVERY tv commentator and pundit was laughing after the game as they looked at replays, saying it was never a penalty, yet NOT ONE of them clowns even suggested the prick dived, or even made a meal of it, or tried to con the ref. unfuckingreal…

  18. AlexOfMancunia says:

    The lad is young and fearless.

    Also, have you seen the atmospheres at Stadiums over in South America?!

    Talk about ferocious!

    I think he’ll cope fine, just hope his positioning doesn’t go dodgy as it has done before, because Ronaldos’s not tracking back to cover is he?

  19. JIM says:

    i know he didnt play in the champions leaguefinal or as big a game as that

    but the boy seems well able to hold his nerve

    i was at the hull match and alot of people wanted to see him

    scott i even got about 20-30 people in the north stand singing your viva de silva

  20. Manutd forever says:

    Gerrard’s dive was absolutely terrible. How can the referee not spot a straight forward dive like that.I think the referee’s are favorable towards dippers .(if someone remembers)last season in champions league against arse when over the two legs i saw the referee make some awfully bad decisions to get the tie in the dippers favour (it’s not that i love arse but man those decisions were. Really horrendous).

  21. Jig says:

    Gerrard’s dive was as bad, if not worse, than Pirez a few seasons back yet there is nobody in the press accusing him of diving, just that it might not have been a penalty.

    I’ll be the first to admit when our players dive as Ronaldo and Rooney have done in the past because I hate seeing it in the game but that was disgusting to watch. Gerrard had one thing on his mind as he ran toward that challenge, no doubt about it, makes my stomach turn thinking about it.

    Not just because it was the dippers (Which obviously doesn’t help) but the lack of sportsmanship.

  22. JIM says:



  23. Stephen says:

    Gerrard is a fucking cheat, pure and simple the press all last night and this morning have been “depating” if it was a dive or not, I would love to hear the debate if it was Ronaldo in the same position.

  24. Manutd forever says:

    @JIM:have you even seen the match last was a clear dive anyone could spot don’t go down like that under a tackle of such meagre intensity.gerrard went down like someone went through him.


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