Maturity key to Rafael’s form
Reds right-back Rafael is arguably United’s most consistent performer this season and, although even he admits his surprise at the number of games he has played this season, the Brazilian believes his form is down to hard work and maturity.
Rafael has played more games – 21 in all competitions – than any other player in United’s squad this season, yet it is the quality of his performances as well as the quantity of appearances that has shone through.
“I start every season hoping to make an impression and play a lot of games, but I couldn’t have imagined how well this season has gone for me,” Rafael says in an exclusive interview with this month’sInside United.
“It’s been great, and yes, I’ve been a little surprised to have played so many games. But I’m not a young player any more. I feel like I’ve developed and I want to play in every single game.”
United’s no.2 made his Reds debut back in August 2008 and, now 22 with over 100 club appearances under his belt, he feels he has come a long way as a player and a person.
“I’ve waited a long time for this – getting to this point hasn’t happened overnight,” he says. “I’ve been at this club for five years and that’s a long time. At first, the goal was to just play one game for Manchester United. Then, when you achieve that, you set other targets. Now I want to play very game and become a regular in the team.”
So, what’s changed? “I’m getting old!” he jokes. “No, I think this is just a natural development; it’s bound to happen when you play more games and have more experiences. My daughter has also helped me – [being a father] has settled me down a lot. When you’re a dad you have to be mature.
“Also, I think splitting from Fabio – he’s out on loan at Queens Park Rangers this season – has been a good experience. At first I was sad, but I’ve come to see that it’s made me grow up a lot. I’ve had to change and be more responsible.”