Rafael hoping to claim regular Man United place

Manchester United defender Rafael is hoping that he is over his injury worries and will grab a regular spot in the United first team, manutd.com. The Brazilian started at right back against Liverpool on Saturday and could keep his place for the visit of Stoke City to Old Trafford tonight.

Rafael featured regularly last season, but suffered a shoulder injury earlier this season which ruled him out for a large period and allowed Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to stake their claim for the right back slot. Jones is now on the sidelines with injury and Smalling is back in his regular centre half role, so Rafael has the chance to keep his right back position. The Brazilian has only made six appearances this season and is keen to make up for lost time at Old Trafford, where he is rated highly by both fans and boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

Rafael said: ‘In many ways, it feels like it’s only the beginning of the season for me. I’m just getting started,” he admitted. I’m really looking forward to playing as many games as possible and, hopefully, helping the team win another Premier League trophy.’

United will be looking to bounce back from defeat at Anfield in the FA Cup and Rafael insists his teammates have the quality and the mental toughness to get over a crushing loss and beat Stoke. The reigning Premier League champions are three points behind Manchester City and will be hoping they can beat Stoke, as well as Everton doing them a favour against City at Goodison Park.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Man Utd v Stoke

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