City Blogger: Silva the greatest.
- 22 April 2014 11:45
- Posted by @viewfromablue
Coming to an agreement on football related matters is never an easy task. Irrespective of the subject in question, debate will always rage. Contrasting viewpoints and passionate deliberations are only to be expected.
Arguing about a referee’s decision. Discussing the manager’s team selection. Contemplating potential transfer targets. Debating a clubs’ best ever player. It’s unlikely there will ever be a consensus.
In his column on this website last Thursday, Thom Soutter raised the possibility that Yaya Touré may be the greatest player that City have ever had. It’s an understandable claim; the Ivorian’s role in the Blues’ recent ascent cannot be underestimated - his goals vital, his blend of physicality and intricacy delightful. However, and in no way is this intended to be a criticism of him, I’m not even sure Yaya is City’s greatest current midfielder.
I would award that accolade to a certain Spaniard whose displays have enchanted us on a weekly basis since the summer of 2010. It’s about time David Silva received the praise he deserves.
Were I to list his talents, this could be a never-ending article. The way he glides around the pitch, floating elegantly, bundles of intelligent movement, the tireless workrate, the touch, vision, poise and balance, the patterns he weaves, the graceful turns as he teases the opposition.
I could go on and on. To watch him at his best, to observe his magic, to be captivated by his quiet, almost restrained, beauty is a treat.
In this stats-obsessed era where many seem to judge performances by pass completion rates, final-third entries and other such nonsense, perhaps Silva’s genius isn’t appreciated quite as it ought to be. He’s scored fewer goals this season than Peter Crouch, the same number as Steve Sidwell and just one more than Charlie Adam. There will be those who argue he doesn’t win enough aerial duels, doesn’t have enough shots per games and, according to one highly-regarded analytical website, he creates a lower average quality of key passes than Stewart Downing. It’s football reduced to meaningless numbers without context.
You don’t need to watch a City game for long to appreciate the Spaniard’s artistry. In his non-vocal, non-attention-seeking way, he controls a match. He doesn’t need to shout to earn respect. He doesn’t remonstrate with the referee merely to make a point to the cameras. He doesn’t court the limelight. He just puts the ball down and plays with natural grace.
It seems almost churlish to single out one particular performance, but Silva’s display against Hull perfectly epitomised his brilliance. In the face of adversity, in the midst of a challenging away fixture and down to ten men following Vincent Kompany’s early sending off, he assumed extra responsibility and drove us to victory. It wasn’t just his thunderous goal which was worthy of acclaim, but the manner in which he stamped his authority on proceedings in his unfussy, discreet way. Untouchable on the ball, disciplined off it, he set the example for his teammates to follow. Prodding, probing, penetrating. It was Silva at his mesmeric best.
Where others find their space congested, he drifts into vacant areas. Where his teammates are rushed by a willing opposition, pressing high and swarming around, Silva puts his foot on the ball, surveys the scene and enjoys an extra few seconds of control.
It’s elegance stripped back to its most basic, most enjoyable form. Modest. Understated. Glorious.
He darts here, there and everywhere, combining an often-overlooked fighting spirit with delicate feet and operating with a freedom to orchestrate our attacks. He’s a leader by his performances. He raises the levels of those around him. He inspires others. The simple reality and one that above all highlights his enduring importance is that if he plays well, the team plays well.
I’m not old enough to have seen the likes of Colin Bell, Bert Trautmann or Peter Doherty, players from bygone eras often referred to as City’s finest. I am, however, fortunate to watch David Silva every week. Cue the controversy, disagreement and endless debate, but for me he is the pick of City’s all-time greats.