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Fergie fulsome in his praise for Rafael

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed Brazilian full-back Rafael Da Silva.

The 18-year-old, surprisingly picked ahead of Wes Brown in the starting line-up, glittered in United's Champions League stroll over Aalborg before having to leave the field in the second half with a knock.

"We have great hopes for the lad," said Ferguson. "He has impressed us a lot.

"Some people might have been a bit surprised I picked him over Wes Brown but I feel the boy has something special."

Rafael, his twin brother Fabio and midfielder Rodrigo Possebon all came to United's attention during a youth tournament in Hong Kong three years ago.

A member of the Brazil Under-17 side at last year's FIFA World Cup, Rafael signed for the Old Trafford outfit in January this year but due to work permit regulations was not able to play a competitive game until this summer.

"Rafael has no fear of playing and has great belief in himself," said Ferguson.

"He is only 18 but he has started very well. He did well against Middlesbrough last week and he has progressed again.

"He is really positive and has a great chance in the future."

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