Being able to run rampant on Manchester United’s right flank is an opportunity relished by Rafael da Silva, an opportunity that he may not have been given if forced to continue battling for game time with twin brother Fabio.
The Brazilian brothers arrived at Old Trafford four years ago hoping to replace the Reds’ legendary siblings Gary and Phil Neville.
And after weaving their way through United’s youth system and first-team football, Rafael and Fabio were split up when the latter was loaned to QPR for a season to gain regular playing experience.
“It’s not strange but it’s different,” Rafael told MUTV’s Inside Carrington programme. “We’re close and I was always together with him but it’s been good for us, just to become more mature.
“I used to ask him all the time if I needed something but now I need more of my own mind so I’ve grown more mature.
“It’s bad because I miss him but it’s good to learn more.”
The inseparable duo have given staff, teammates and Sir Alex Ferguson hassle with a series of mischievous acts expected from identical twins.
And although Fabio is currently sidelined with injury for Mark Hughes’ side, Rafael has been running riot as United first-choice rightback.
The brothers are still eager to reignite their partnership at Old Trafford, Fabio has even taken to critiquing Rafael’s most-promising season with the first-team.
“He is always calling me back to say something is not good [about my game]!” Rafael added. “It’s always been like this. He is back in training now and maybe, when he plays again, we’ll keep doing this.”