Rio Ferdinand sees a lot of himself in Manchester United team-mate Rafael

 

Rio Ferdinand can see a lot of himself in Manchester United team-mate Rafael.

With Chris Smalling and Phil Jones both sidelined by long-term injuries, Rafael has emerged as United's first-choice right-back this season.

The 22-year-old has responded with a series of decent performances, and a couple of very important goals, the latest at Liverpool last weekend.

However, the Brazilian, who featured in his country's silver medal-winning Olympic squad at London 2012, retains an impetuous streak which takes Ferdinand back to his own youth.

"Rafa is his own worst critic," said Ferdinand.

"He is emotional and sometimes when he makes a mistake he has to make up for it immediately. That comes out in his game at times.

"When I was his age I was a lot like that.

"I used to be more interested in what was happening in the attacking part of the game and further up the pitch than defensive play.

"With experience that will disappear and you will see a top right-back."

As Ferdinand recalls, he did not fully appreciate the art of defending until he started receiving guidance from David O'Leary following his move to Leeds in November 2000.

"I realised it when I went to Leeds at 22. I was more of a maverick under Harry Redknapp at West Ham and when I went to Leeds David O'Leary pulled the reins in and made me think about my defensive duties first.

"He said everything else would come naturally.

"I speak to Rafa about it similarly and he's a quick learner."

Ferdinand's name is back in the headlines again as a potential England player following John Terry's decision to abandon the Three Lions.

It is not known whether Roy Hodgson will now consider the 33-year-old, who he left out of Euro 2012 for "footballing reasons".

Ferdinand's performance at Anfield on Sunday suggests he is still capable of operating at the highest level, even if Sir Alex Ferguson will want him wrapping in cotton wool following confirmation skipper Nemanja Vidic will be out for another eight weeks with a knee injury.

For his part, though the former West Ham man has never said his international career was over, privately he has felt that way.

And even now he just wants to focus on matters at Old Trafford.

"Personal performances and accolades come way down the list when you are winning at places like Anfield," he said.

"I have always said I just want a consistent run of games. At the moment that is what I am doing and I am really happy."

PA

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Ricky Gervais performs stand-up
people
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering