In Rafa he trusts – NO, not THAT Rafa but Manchester United’s Rafael da Silva, known as Rafa to his team mates. Newly appointed Brazil coach Mano Menezes has put his trust in the young right back this week by selecting him in the squad for the friendly against the USA in New Jersey next month. da Silva meets up with the rest of the seleção on August 10 and makes his debut in the famous yellow and blue two days later.
Menezes replaced Dunga after Brazil failed in their World Cup campaign and did not hesitate to put the broom through the squad naming just four members from the ones who went to South Africa. Kaka, Fabiano and Julio Cesar are among those who have been dropped and replaced by eleven previously uncapped players including da Silva. His only previous appearances for his country were for the junior team in the 2007 FIFA U17 World Cup together with his twin brother Fabio.
At one stage the pair were approached by Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz who asked them to play for his country as both hold Portuguese citizenship. Rafael indicated some willingness to take up the offer but now that Brazil has come calling he will be committed to his country of birth.
Both twins signed for Manchester United at the same time in 2008. Their elder brother Luiz Henrique Pereira da Silva used to play for América-MG in Brazil and Brescia in Italy but moved with his wife to England when the twins signed for United. After a six week wait for an international clearance, Luiz Henrique signed for Radcliffe Borough but returned to Brazil with his wife in early 2009 to prepare for the birth of their child while the da Silva parents continued living with the twins in Manchester.
Although da Silva only turned 20 earlier this month, he will become the 27th full international at Old Trafford if he gets any game time for Brazil against the USA. There is not one single player over the age of 21 in the current United squad who has not represented his country at full international level. Is that too hard to believe? Just have a look
Homegrown players over the age of 21
Wes Brown – England
Michael Carrick – England
Jonny Evans – Northern Ireland
Rio Ferdinand – England
Darren Fletcher – Scotland
Darron Gibson – Republic of Ireland
Ryan Giggs – Wales
Gary Neville – England
John O’Shea – Republic of Ireland
Michael Owen – England
Wayne Rooney – England
Paul Scholes – England
Foreign players over the age of 21
Nemanja Vidic – Serbia
Edwin Van der Sar – Netherlands
Antonio Valencia – Ecuador
Nani – Portugal
Tomasz Kuszczak – Poland
Ji-Sung Park – South Korea
Patrice Evra – France
Mame Biram Diouf – Senegal
Dimitar Berbatov – Bulgaria
Anderson – Brazil
Owen Hargreaves – England
Javier Hernandez – Mexico
Ritchie de Laet – Belgium
Players under the age of 21
Corry Evans – Northern Ireland
Fabio Da Silva
Rafael Da Silva – Possibly senior debut for Brazil vs USA
True Reds concedes that it stands to be corrected but that must be a squad of international players which is unlikely to be matched by any other club in the Premier League.
Do you know of any Premier League squad which contains more full international players?