Rafael da Silva, one of the Brazilian twins United signed has given an excellent account of himself this season. His tenacity, ability to dribble and pace belies his tender years and has caught many eyes world over. But the much touted of the two, however, was Fabio. He captained the Brazilian U-17 team and was the more impressive of the two during the U-17 World Cup.
Fabio has had a frustrating season blighted by injury. He had a shoulder operation which kept him away from action for months, and thus kept him from developing his game. However, since his return to the reserves, he has been nothing short of outstanding. I’ve been witness to only a handful clips and highlights, but there are indications, like his ability to hold his own against Tottenham in the FA Cup, and his general form for the reserves, that it won’t be long before he’ll be getting a real run in the first team.
But yesterday, if not earlier, should have surely put the backroom staff and Fergie on high alert. In a game between United reserves and Rochdale, Fabio scored a hat trick. It’s hard enough for a full-back to score goals, but a hat trick makes one rub his eyes. I was curious to see his stats this season for the reserves, but couldn’t find any in the official site. Thanks to the excellent Man United Youth blog, I found that he has made 9 appearances this season (8 starts, 1 sub) and scored 6 goals. It’s too early to say anything so early about a player, but if these stats are those of a full back, then one can’t help but sit up and take notice.
Reports all over have been glowing about his performance yesterday. And there is talk of a wonderful volley for one of the goals. If anyone can post links to the video, I’ll be well pleased and grateful.
So, the question is, is he ready for the first team?
I’d say, if his brother did alright, I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be given a look-in. (Of course, not just because he’s Rafael’s brother.) However, from what I’ve seen of him, I think his attacking instincts could be better served on the left wing, giving us raw pace and fearlessness that seems to be in short supply in the first team. Fergie seems to have lost faith in Nani this season, and there aren’t any other creative players with searing pace, bar Ronaldo, on the wing. I’d say, why not? But I’d love to hear from you.
I’ll leave two links to the match reports of the game: