Silva goes from paradise to Manchester. Every cloud... - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Silva goes from paradise to Manchester. Every cloud...

Brought up on Gran Canaria, £25 million David Silva is loving life half a world away in the northern rain

If the Isle of Wight had produced a World Cup and European Championship winner, local pride would be intense. So it is on Gran Canaria, off the coast of north-west Africa, where David Silva can claim to have superseded Juan Carlos Valeron as the island's most famous son since completing his double with the national team and then earning a £25m transfer from Valencia to Manchester City last summer.

As an ambassador for the "paradise" of Gran Canaria, Silva could be forgiven for yearning for home amid the Manchester rain, but like most footballers he grew up fast and learnt to adapt accordingly. There was a move north to Valencia aged only 14, before loans to Eibar in the Basque country and then a further step up the ladder to Celta Vigo.

Sitting in the grand Mancunian Suite overlooking the Eastlands pitch, he recalled a youth long gone, a world away: "I was brought up in a small fishing town, but I did everything a normal kid would do at that age. I just knocked about with my mates and family, went to school and found wherever we could to play football." Facilities were basic, which had the advantages that generations of street footballers have discovered: "Grass? No way! We'd play on the beach, on a hard surface like asphalt and concrete. The players from the island are characterised by having a good touch, like Valeron.

"I left the village for the bigger city then and got used to it. I went to an ordinary school, local kids from the area, and Valencia put us up in halls of residence for people on their staff. Then when I was 16 my parents came over and we lived together." His father Fernando was a policeman and has remained close, being responsible for security at Valencia and now living in England with Silva's younger brother.

Smaller than average he may have been – "small with big balls," Spain's former manager Luis Aragones said – but his potential had long been noted and he played for the national team at four different age levels before graduating to the full national team.

At Valencia, he linked up with David Villa in a formidable partnership that took both to Euro 2008 winners' medals. Even City, not short of funds, were deterred by Valencia's valuation of ¤135 million when they wanted to take both players to the Premier League, and last summer the partnership was split, Villa joining his World Cup-winning team-mates at Barcelona while City finally snared Silva.

He arrived a little miffed at having played so small a part in the South African triumph, yet suffering because his pre-season programme had been incomplete. "Like any player you want to play, so it was disappointing," he said. "I played the first game and then I was out and there was never any explanation. Though to be fair there was never an explanation when you were selected, so you couldn't say anything. To tell the truth I was just as happy to win that trophy as when I played more and won the European Championship two years before, because the main thing is that we made the country happy.

"I found it quite tough at the beginning [with City] because I wasn't in the right physical shape for the start of the season. That was down to missing the first part of pre-season after my late arrival after the World Cup. There were a couple of friendly internationals involving long journeys which also interrupted things so I didn't have the time to get fit. Since I've got to 100 per cent fitness-wise my form has started to come."

Since then, he has been making City followers happy as well, living up to his reputation once he had finally settled and found a role for himself as a support striker starting on either flank.

Fitness has also been improved by taking yoga lessons from the same teacher as Ryan Giggs, developing a sharpness that he believes has helped him slip away from some of the worst of the tackling in a League where the referees are notoriously more permissive than on the Continent. Yet although City's performance in winning 4-1 away to Fulham in November was among their very best of the season, they go into the return game this afternoon no better than third in the table, having lost the crucial derby at Old Trafford two weeks ago.

"Before the United game we were maybe vying for the title. It's not that we're not fighting for it now but obviously it's been made a little bit more difficult now, having lost that game. We're still involved in the Uefa Cup and the FA Cup and we're not out of the title race yet so while there is hope, we'll be fighting till the end."

City's manager Roberto Mancini appears to be using his squad well, and last week's FA Cup thrashing of Notts County earned a tie with Aston Villa and, if successful, another home game with Everton or Reading.

Edin Dzeko has added something to the attack, taking some of the weight from Carlos Tevez. With Mario Balotelli as the joker, there are interesting options, as demonstrated when that trio played together in the victory over Aris on Thursday, with Silva behind them. "It's not easy," Silva said, "you get a lot of talented individuals but the team's got to come first. You've got to get a set-up where people are all part of the group, which then can allow the individuals to express themselves within that. We're all trying to do that and gradually we are getting success in terms of how we play."

Mark Hughes will receive a warm welcome on his return to Eastlands this afternoon. For Fulham, 4-0 down in an hour last time the teams met, it may be a hot one.

Manchester City versus Fulham is a 3pm kick-off today

News
Residents of James Turner Street such as White Dee will have a chance to share their experiences of benefits on a Channel 4 spin-off show
peopleBenefits Street star says mixed-race children were subjected to trolling
Sport
Angel Di Maria
Football
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
film
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
News
newsIn short, yes
Extras
indybest
News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Life and Style
Jourdan Dunn gave TopShop’s Unique show some added glamour at London Fashion Week
fashion week
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories