Manchester United full-back Rafael: It's too early to be compared to 'idol' Gary Neville
Manchester United full-back Rafael da Silva insists it is too early for him to be compared to his idol Gary Neville, despite an impressive start to the 2012-13 season.
Rafael, 22, has played more minutes than any Manchester United player and has won both the club's Player of the Month and Goal of the Month awards already this campaign.
Despite his stand-out showings and increased durability, the Brazilian is reluctant to accept comparisons with the former Red Devils favourite.
"To speak about a comparison with Gary Neville is too much," Rafael told The Sun. "He is one of my idols and it's not easy to become as good as him. I came to improve and that is still happening.
"I am very grateful to the manager for my chance but I am keeping a clear head and do not consider myself to be a star."
The defender also took time to pay tribute to the club's right-winger Antonio Valencia, whom he believes has played a part in his improvement this year.
Rafael added: "Maybe this season I am a little quicker in everything I do and every day I try to increase my crossing ability.
"Antonio is an incredible winger and day by day we work very hard on our partnership. Our South American connection has helped. Mr Ferguson is always demanding we be a better combination when we attack without forgetting what we must do in defence."