Even before Gary Neville returned to first team action again, following over a year out injured, there were serious doubts over whether he would be able to hold down a place in the team. Wes Brown had played more games than any other in our Double winning season, meaning Neville was going to have to really work hard to get back in the team.

Had we been told at the beginning of the season that Brown would go on to suffer a lengthy period out injured, I can’t imagine many would have expected Neville to still be warming the bench. However, thanks to Rafael Da Silva, that is exactly what is happening, with Sir Alex Ferguson today confirming Rafael is his best right-back.

“Gary and Wes are England’s best right full-backs,” said Ferguson. “But they have a little problem because this young boy Rafael has really taken off. All the players, Gary included, are so supportive of him. They think he is fantastic. It is rare for someone to come through like he has done. When Gary did it, he had help. He was among six or seven young players all together, like a band of brothers. This lad doesn’t speak the language that well but he understands the football very well.”