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Wes: We’ve Been Here Donkey’s Years…But Rafael Is Good For Club

Against West Brom at the weekend, both Gary Neville and Wes Brown found themselves on the bench, with Rafael Da Silva starting at right back. Neville replaced the Brazilian with just over an hour played, whilst Wes remained on the bench throughout.

Whilst I think it’s a great thing to have so many competent players on the books, I do worry about whether there will be enough games to keep all our players happy. Giving Rafael Premiership experience at this stage is brilliant and something I encourage, but then, is it fair that comes at the cost of Wes’ spot in the team? We should be looking to the future, certainly, but Wes played more games for us than any player last season, but has only earned 4 starts from a possible 10 games in the league and in Europe.

He’s not grumbling about it though, which can only be admired, saying these kinds of selection problems are good for the team.

“It’s healthy competition,” Brown said. “Rafael’s come in this season and he’s a quality young player; I’m sure he’s the future for Manchester United. Me and Gary Neville have been here for donkey’s years. We’re all fighting for the same place, but as long as the gaffer’s got that selection problem then it’s good for the team. I’m sure whoever he picks [against Celtic] will play well.”

Sir Alex agreed with Wes, although did concede Rafael is far from this finished article yet.

“Wes is right,” he said. “[Rafael’s form] gives me a selection problem but it’s good for the club. The boy has talent but he found out on Saturday [against West Bromwich Albion] that Premier League football isn’t easy. For periods of the game he was still finding his way. It was only when I decided to take him off he started to play the way we know he can. In the 10 minutes before he came off he was absolutely superb – the positions he took up and the penetration he achieved was superb. I brought Gary on to give us that bit more experience, though. But Rafael’s a great talent. In football, when a guy turns a corner [and starts showing great form] you can’t do anything about it.”

Who should start against Celtic?

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. klauq says:

    To me in the WBA game SAF was jut resting Wes after the international week. Furthermore, it’s a perfect chance to give Rafael experience because against WBA we dont really need Wes. And he let Gary play substituting Rafael, so this week all three of them played (if Wes plays against Celtic). That’s a brilliant rotation to me.

  2. james f says:

    There’s still a long way to go. We’re facing an exhaustive 60+ game season (with 51 of them confirmed). Wes’ time will come and he knows it.

  3. AJ says:

    I really liked Rafael in the WBA match but i liked him only for his attacking which was exellent at such a young age to know how to over lap and attack and help out the right midfielder is great.

    But… he needs to improve his defending and possetioning a lot and he is still young so hopefully he will learn, because honestly in the 2 matches he has played for us so far he hasnt been doing well in defence and he needs to learn.

  4. Drew Vader says:

    I thought he started out nervous as hell and the Albion left winger was getting past him far too easily. Then, he had a few good touches and won a few good tackles and you could literally see his confidence growing. Its great to see, get well soon Fabio!!

  5. bossdem says:

    it may not be a coincidence that all three of them are fit and fresh. evra on the otherhand isnt.
    i never expected wes to play against wba. though ive no doubt whatsoever hes our number one rightback for the season. i certainly dont expect rafael to be taking that slot just yet. gnev remains to be seen.

  6. UnitedOnFire says:

    I think Utd will rotate Wes, Gary and Rafael at this stage of the season, until we get into the nity gritty stage when either Gary or Wes will have made the position his own, and the other two only getting a look in against the divsion minnows like Stoke or Spurs (hehe)

    What it does mean is that Danny Simpson’s United career is pretty much over. Shame, as I thought he had quite a bit of potential.

  7. AJ says:

    I disagree with you UnitedOnFire.

    Da silva will definatly not be regualaly ahead of Neville and Brown…

    He is still 18 and needs to improve alot to hold first team football at United.

    But as i said he has potential

  8. DuudeLove says:

    You are also wrong unitedonfire because Gary will only have another 2 years at most and Wesley has said he prefers playing centre half so if all goes well with Simpsons loan, i wouldnt be surprised to see him back challenging again. Good luck to him.

  9. UnitedOnFire says:

    I didn’t mean he’d be a regular this season, just at this stage of the season he’ll get an odd game or two until jan feb time when we won’t see him in the 1st team again.

    Also, if da silva does nail the position next season, the cover for rightback will be the experienced Wes, not Simpson.

    I actually think it will be the other way round and despite Wes wanting to play CB, he’ll be the regular RB for the next couple of seasons.


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