Rafael ready for work
Rafael ready for work
Early July is not always the players’ favourite time of year, with the need to regain full fitness being the order of the day before the squad starts playing matches again on tour. But United right-back Rafael insists he actually relishes this period…
"Pre-season is always good, it’s enjoyable. I like this stage of the year a lot. Of course, there is a lot of running! But it’s good as well because when you come back from holiday, sometimes you can get tired from doing nothing. I feel good when I’m working.
"The pre-season tours are a big part of preparation work for the new season. If you play well, you can put a thought in the manager’s mind and maybe change his mind if you perhaps weren’t in his plans for the first few games.
"Not only are we able to put in some hard work on the training pitch when we’re on tour, it’s good to see different cultures and different things. It’s great that we’re able to visit countries across the world because we have so many fans. We are a big club and we have supporters everywhere and it’s good for us to go on tour and see them. They give us so much support and it’s great that we’re able to meet some of them, especially those who aren’t able to get to Old Trafford.
"The tour is a great experience for the young players and the older players like Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand are always really encouraging when we’re away and help us a lot. I’m sure this year’s tour will be another great trip and it’s one we’re all looking forward to."
Top trumps: David De Gea
Since signing in 2011, David De Gea has made the Manchester United no.1 spot his own and looks completely at home at Old Trafford.
And now that he is an established squad member after two full seasons in M16, we thought we’d put his knowledge of his title-winning team-mates to the test.
In an exclusive feature, first published in United Uncovered, the Spanish starlet is forced to randomly select two colleagues and then answer five questions about their illustrious careers.
How did David perform? Watch the free video above to find out.
VOTE: Rafael for Samba Gold Trophy 2012
Reds defender Rafael has been nominated for the prestigious Samba Gold Trophy, awarded to the best Brazilian player in Europe.
The 22-year-old has enjoyed his best 12 months yet in a United shirt and is on a 30-man shortlist for the prize, which will be announced on 31 December.
Fans, top journalists and an expert panel consisting of former players and managers have until 30 December to vote for the winner. Defender Thiago Silva is the reigning holder of the trophy, while Manchester City’s Maicon (then with Internazionale) won the award in 2010.
One of Rafael’s defensive partners at United, Jonny Evans, recently admitted the young Brazilian “sets the tone for the rest of the players” at the club with his energy and enthusiasm.
"He’s a credit to himself," Evans said. "He’s going to be one of the best right-backs in the world, no doubt about that.”
Lads at The Christie
The players brought some Christmas cheer to local youngsters at two Manchester hospitals on Thursday.
The first-team squad split into two and headed to the Young Oncology Unit at The Christieand the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital armed with hundreds of United goodies ranging from iPads to cuddly toys which had been wrapped by the club’s young players and staff at Carrington.
The Reds’ young fans were over the moon to come face-to-face with their heroes who set about signing and posing for photographs with as many patients and staff members as they could.
“It’s not easy for kids who are in hospital over Christmas and it was nice to be able to put a smile on their faces,” said Wayne Rooney, who visited The Christie with team-mates Tom Cleverley, Jonny Evans and Ryan Giggs. “It was also good to chat to the parents and the doctors and nurses who do so much great work in looking after the children.”
Club photographers John and Matt Peters accompanied the players visiting the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
Instagram update: Gala Dinner
Rafael wants united to maintain winning momentum