Watching the lads warming up ahead of the Spurs game yesterday, it was odd watching Fabio da Silva. I knew it was Fabio because on the radio on the way to the ground I’d heard he was starting and I knew his twin brother, Rafael, was out injured. However, it was odd to watch Fabio, knowing he was, but also aware if I hadn’t heard the team news, I’d be referring to him as Rafael.

The da Silva brothers have been mockingly called ‘The Brazilian Nevilles’, however, aside from their appearances, the style of play between Gary and Phil varied massively. They both usually filled the full-back positions for us, but Phil was better suited to the midfield role and Gary was better was bombing forward. On first viewing, there is no difference between Rafael and Fabio.

One brother plays down the right, the other down the left, but they appear to match each other in ability, confidence and approach to the game.

“The da Silva brothers have got great temperament to play,” Ferguson said. “They’ve got a winning mentality. Like Rafael, Fabio loves playing and loves training, the enthusiasm is always there.”

Ben Foster, who had a couple of games this weekend, has echoed these senitments about the brothers.

“Confidence is something that those twins definitely aren’t lacking!” he said. “Since they arrived they have been absolutely fantastic. Fabio has been a bit unlucky with injuries, but he’s definitely one for the future.”

The Times was similarly impressed with Fabio, reinforcing what we’d heard, that the left back was better than the right. It is Fabio who captains the International team and Fabio who was Brazil U-21s top scorer.

Old Trafford is used to seeing stars being born but always cherishes the experience, and Ferguson finds nothing more sustaining than springing a new player on the game. At 18, via his unexpected performances at right-back this season, Rafael Da Silva is already a sensation. Yesterday it was the turn of Fabio, his twin, to announce himself as a talent of substance. Fabio, playing at left-back, was the outstanding performer of a vivid opening act. The Da Silva twins are identical, sharing the same wide-eyed, curly-haired boyishness, youthful builds and coltish gaits. Injuries meant Fabio had to wait for yesterday’s debut. Spectators mused that he could not be as good as his brother and soon knew their instincts were right: he looks better.

It is weird having identical players, in appearance and style. It’s a bit of a test for the brain which I’m sure will only mess with us more when both lads are on the pitch. Weird, yet wonderful, and I can only imagine how great these brothers are going to get.




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