Patrice Evra is convinced fellow Manchester United full-back Rafael will emerge stronger for his red card torment against Bayern Munich last week.
Most pundits have pointed to the youngster’s dismissal early in the second half as the pivotal moment in a Champions League quarter-final United appeared to have under control.
As the Red Devils subsequently failed to overcome Blackburn at Ewood Park to slip four points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea, it appears as though it will be a seminal moment in United’s entire campaign.
Yet Evra is confident the Old Trafford outfit will gain a major benefit in the long run, as he is convinced Rafael is destined for great things.
“It is a good experience for Rafael and he will definitely be a better player because of what happened,” said Evra.
“When he gets some experience he will be different class.
“I know Rafael’s mentality. I am sure about him. He has a lot of hunger.
“This was just part of the development process. He will go on to become one of the best right-backs Manchester United have ever had.”
Evra was older and more experienced when he arrived at United in a £5million deal from Monaco in January 2005.
Yet even he struggled at first, which is why he feels confident about Rafael.
“When I came here I was 24. I was already playing with the French national team and had reached the final of the Champions League with Monaco,” said Evra.
“But the first six months were difficult.
“It was a big slap in my face. But I had enough experience and character to do much better and show why Manchester United bought me from Monaco.”
Not that he views the young Brazilian as the bad guy.
Given the way Bayern used all their experience to pressurise the referee into sending Rafael off, Evra feels the dismissal could have happened to anyone.
“Rafa did something that maybe, with more experience, he would not do,” reflected Evra.
“But I am not certain. Someone might make the same mistake at 32.
“The point is, you need to make mistakes to become a big player.
“You learn. You have to be mentally strong because anyone can do something stupid.”