Man Utd legend Irwin: Rafael has matured into top class fullback

Manchester United legend Denis Irwin is full of praise for current right-back Rafael da Silva.

Rafael’s fast improving graph from impulsive to imperious has caught the eye of United’s 1999 Treble-winning full-back Irwin.

“There has never been a question about Rafael’s talent,” Irwin told the Manchester Evening News.

“He was brave, aggressive and his attacking qualities were very good. He had all the attributes. His problem was that as a young player he was impetuous and the timing of his tackles got him into trouble and caused problems.

“It is all well and good being aggressive but it was learning how to do it properly at the right times.

“He has had to learn to be a lot more patient with his defending. He had been trying to win things too early. He wanted to win the ball when it wasn’t feasible.

“You have to learn to hold back. You learn with age and experience that you cannot win the ball all the time. There is no doubt that in that area he has come on a lot. His defending has improved and it will get even better. It is horrible to say but you learn the most when you make mistakes and he has made a couple of big ones on big occasions.

“But he’ll never forget them. When you make those kind of mistakes it clicks with you and you become wiser."

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