Rafael Da Silva replaced Gary Neville in United’s weekend clash against Arsenal, putting in a great performance and scoring a brilliant goal. Neville’s days in the starting lineup are certainly numbered with this young Brazilian looking for a first team place, and no doubt Patrice Evra, who has had a very good season so far, will be looking over his shoulder when Fabio returns from injury.

“The boy’s such a gutsy character, and he’s got such talent,” Ferguson said of Rafael after the game. “He’s got the Brazilian mentality of ‘give me the ball, I want to play’, and every time we get the ball, he wants the ball. It’s a great attribute to have for such a young kid.”

Tomorrow night United take on QPR in the League Cup, with Sir Alex Ferguson set to rely on his younger players once more, whilst still including some of the more senior members of the squad.

“The younger ones who will play will be Jonny Evans, Rodrigo Possebon, Rafael, Darron Gibson, Danny Welbeck – who is back playing now in the Reserves after overcoming injury – and possibly Manucho,” said Ferguson.“The rest of the team will be filled by the first team squad.”

Rodrigo Possebon will be getting his first team outing after the horrendous tackle he suffered at the hands of Middlesbrough’s Emanuel Pogatetz earlier in the season.

“There’s absolutely no problem with the boy now,” Ferguson added. “We did worry at the time, but fortunately he was OK.”