Manchester United right-back Rafael admits maturity and hard work are behind his impressive performances as he also revealed his season had gone better than expected.
The Reds defender has been a near present this season, featuring in 21 games – the most of any member of the first team squad.
But despite being one of the side’s most impressive performers this campaign, the Brazilian revealed he did not predict such a good run of form back in August.
“It’s been great, and yes, I’ve been a little surprised to have played so many games,” said the 22-year-old.
“But I’m not a young player any more. I feel like I’ve developed and I want to play in every single game.
“I start every season hoping to make an impression and play a lot of games, but I couldn’t have imagined how well this season has gone for me.”
With over 100 club appearances under his belt, the defender admitted he had come a long way since signing from Fluminese back in August 2008.
“I’ve waited a long time for this – getting to this point hasn’t happened overnight,” he added.
“I’ve been at this club for five years and that’s a long time. At first, the goal was to just play one game for Manchester United.
Then, when you achieve that, you set other targets. Now I want to play every game and become a regular in the team.”
The player put his development down to a new found maturity, in part gained from becoming a father at the start of the year and also separating from twin brother and United player Fabio.
“I think this is just a natural development; it’s bound to happen when you play more games and have more experiences,” he explained.
“My daughter has also helped me –being a father has settled me down a lot. When you’re a dad you have to be mature.
“Also, I think splitting from Fabio – he’s out on loan at Queens Park Rangers this season –has been a good experience.
“At first I was sad, but I’ve come to see that it’s made me grow up a lot. I’ve had to change and to be more responsible.”
Picture courtesy of Wiki Commons, with thanks.