Rafael flattered to be compared to his Manchester United 'idol' Gary Neville

The Brazilian right-back says he is still improving as a player and is grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for giving him a run in the team after an impressive start to the season
Manchester United defender Rafael says he is flattered by comparisons made between himself and Gary Neville.

Sir Alex Ferguson believes the 22-year-old can become as good as the former Red Devils captain as the Brazilian has now cemented his place in the starting line-up.

Rafael admits he is happy at being given the chance of becoming a regular at Old Trafford but believes he is a long way off reaching Neville's achievements.

"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."

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Rafael's relationship with right-sided winger Antonio Valencia has played a huge part in Manchester United's attack this season, a partnership which the right-back says is forged by hard work in training.

"Maybe this season I am a little quicker in everything I do and every day I try to increase my crossing ability," added Rafael.

"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."