Rafael thrilled with progress at Manchester United this season
Left-back surprised by number of appearances he has made
Friday 14 December 2012
Manchester United defender Rafael is surprised at how many appearances he has made this season and feels his development has been aided by his twin brother Fabio leaving Old Trafford on loan.
Rafael has played in more first-team games this term for United than any other member of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad, featuring 21 times in all competitions, 20 as part of the starting XI.
With the Brazil right-back having been so key to a Red Devils side that is through to the last 16 of the Champions League and currently six points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League, the campaign could hardly have gone better for him.
Indeed, where Rafael is at now is exceeding his own pre-season expectations, although the 22-year-old does see himself as having evolved considerably as a player since he and Fabio arrived at United in 2008 after departing Fluminense.
"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 told Inside 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."
He added: "I've waited a long time for this - getting to this point hasn't happened overnight.
"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 every game and become a regular in the team."
Rafael feels maturing as a person has helped him progress on the pitch, with his separation from Fabio - another full-back who can also play in midfield and signed for QPR on a season-long loan in July - an important part of the process.
Asked how he thought he had changed, Rafael joked: "I'm getting old!"
"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 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."
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
Latest in Sport
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
West Brom vs Manchester United: Latest score and Twitter updates, with Stephane Sessegnon, Marouane Fellaini, Saido Berahino and Daley Blind on target
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
Adel Taraabt criticism from QPR boss Harry Redknapp sparked by player walking out of team meeting prior to Liverpool game
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage