Rafael has been sent home from the US tour with a groin injury he suffered on Friday, Manchester United have confirmed.
The right-back had been performing well in training before his injury but the injury has subsequently ruled him out of the rest of the pre-season. Manchester United have said they feel his recovery will be best treated back in Manchester, away from all the travelling for the tour.
Rafael had played just 45 minutes on tour, coming on as a half-time substitute in the 7-0 thrashing of LA Galaxy where he played right wing back. He looked assured in that game, although he didn’t really do anything of note. The Brazilian will have no more time to impress Louis van Gaal for now though, opening the door for Antonio Valencia to make the wing back spot his own.
With Rafael missing on Saturday night against Roma, Ashley Young played in that position once Valencia came off and did rather well, although it was clear he isn’t a natural in that role. It’ll take some adapting, but he could well be an option. Alternatively, we could see the re-emergence of one of Chris Smalling or Phil Jones at right back. Tyler Blackett is also comfortable in a wider position, but usually on the left.