Can Man Utd’s South American duo emulate Beckham and Neville? compares the Beckham-Neville partnership to current Man Utd double act Rafael and Valencia

By Share The Match
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David Beckham and Gary Neville were a deadly partnership on Man Utd's right wing Photo: Atilathehun

gary neville

Can Valencia and Rafael emulate Beckham and Neville at United?

So it turns out Rafael da Silva and Antonio Valencia’s close friendship at Manchester United is at the heart of their good form as a right-side partnership.

This is the first time United have had a best-bud wing since the days of Gary Neville and David Beckham.

But how do the Brazilian and the Ecuadorian shape up to the English duo?

Valencia has pace to burn and a wicked delivery but maybe doesn’t get as many goals as he should do.

Compare this to Beckham who could run 100 metres in about 22 seconds but easily matches up to Valencia in terms of crossing ability.

But Beckham chipped in with his fair share of goals at a time when United’s midfield was one of the most free-scoring in Europe – finishing with 62 from his 265 games.

So Valencia has some way to go before emulating the former England captain but what about Rafael and Neville?

While both played with their brother at United that is where the similarities end and it is a no contest really – Neville with 400 appearances and five goals against Rafael with 50 appearances and two goals.

Rafael’s infuriating habit of committing reckless tackles – don’t forget his sending off against Bayern Munich which turned the tide of United’s Champions League quarter-final in 2010 – is constantly to his detriment but he is improving.

One the plus side he does look electric going forward but is a long way off getting to Neville’s standard of crossing.

Still it is early days but the signs are positive that this South American partnership can blossom in the same way Beckham and Neville did on in the late 90s on United’s right-side.

Johnson’s Fulham career coming to an end

Fulham are pressing on with their remit of out with the old and in with the new with reports circling that Andy Johnson will leave Craven Cottage in the summer.

The 31-year-old’s contract is due to expire in the summer and it appears that Martin Jol has not seen enough from him to warrant a new deal.

Johnson hasn’t lived up to his price tag – moving to London from Everton for over £10m – and that Jol will probably bring in some exciting young striker to fill the void.

He doesn’t score as many as he perhaps should do, but the shift he puts in is second to none – creating nearly every goal in the 5-0 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Cottage.

His time has been riddled by injury, missing the majority of Fulham’s Europa League campaign where we reached the final, and his best days are well and truly behind him.

He is rumoured to be linking up with former Fulham boss Roy Hodgson again at West Bromich Albion, so he may remain in the Premier League for now.

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