|Birthdate:||09 Jul 1990|
|Birthplace:||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Joined United:||01 Jul 2008|
|United Debut:||24 Jan 2009 v Spurs (H)|
Fabio da Silva took a little while longer than his twin brother, Rafael, to impact on United’s first team, but has nevertheless shown himself to be a young full-back with a bright future.
The young Brazilian, who – like Rafael – was spotted in 2005 by Les Kershaw, then United’s Academy manager, while playing for Fluminense in a Hong Kong youth tournament – will regard 2010/11 as his breakthrough campaign at Old Trafford. Brazil’s captain and top-scorer in the Under-17 World Cup finals in Korea in 2007, Fabio officially joined United in July 2008 and was quickly earning praise from Sir Alex Ferguson. Speaking about both twins, the manager said: “They just love playing. They’re quick and they’re determined. I think they’re both excellent footballers, I really do.” The pair both appeared in a pre-season friendly against Peterborough a month after signing with the Reds, and thereafter Rafael quickly garnered more first team opportunities, while Fabio continued to hone his game in the Reds’ Reserves. Despite suffering from a spate of injuries and finding his route to the first team blocked by Patrice Evra, John O’Shea and Rafael, Fabio’s patience reaped rewards when he pinned down a regular starting berth in early 2011. Having bagged his first goals for the Reds in wins over Wigan and Arsenal, the young Brazilian became a regular at right-back and went on to start United’s Champions League final defeat against Barcelona. A combination of injury and the emergence of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as viable right-back options restricted the amount of appearances Fabio made in the 2011/12 campaign, after which Sir Alex quickly tied up a deal for the Brazilian to spend the 2012/13 season at Queens Park Rangers. Despite Fabio’s absence, the United manager is convinced the defender has the wherewithal to succeed at Old Trafford, admitting: “I think a year out at a good level playing every week will make Fabio a real top player for us.”