Euro 2016 Players to Watch: David Silva

David Silva has proved himself to be perhaps the best, most consistently performing attacking midfielder in the world. He first made his debut for Spain a decade ago against Romania, and coincidentally his last appearance was a month ago in a friendly against Romania. He has won 2 league titles with Manchester City and 4 league cups from his time at City and Valencia. He is the most important player in Manchester City’s building into a powerhouse along with Sergio Aguero, leading them to the semifinal stage of this year’s Champions League. His injury last week in the first game against Real Madrid means he will be out for 2 weeks, but he will be in full strength come the beginning of the tournament this summer.



Since joining Manchester City in 2010, David Silva has the most Premier League assists, the most assists from open play, the most chances created, and the most passes in the final third. David Silva runs games: he is always looking to get on the ball and involve his teammates in the play. He has been he team’s most significant player, especially in the injury absences of Aguero.


Playing Style

Perhaps, he does not score as much as he should as a number 10, but so often he sets up the goals or makes the key pass before the assist. He drifts between the opposition’s midfield and center backs and is impossible to take out of the game. He is an attacking midfielder, but his ability to play through the middle or cut in from the wing makes him formidable. Furthermore, when he comes in from the wing, defenses never know if he will cross or shoot. One example in which he demonstrated this skill was against Scotland.


His passing is nothing short of extraordinary. His quickness in his decision making allows him to always be one step ahead of his opponents. Before receiving the ball, he already knows what he is going to do with it. He can split an entire midfield and defense with just one pass, like this example against Belarus.




Off the Ball 

When he doesn’t have the ball, Silva is never still. He is constantly adjusting his position so he is in the perfect place and ready when he receives the ball. In this play against Ireland, he adjusts his body as Mata crosses the ball into the box. Then, just as Iniesta controls and shoots the ball, he backs off just a bit to prepare for a rebound. He gets the ball after the keeper spills it and calmly passes it in the net despite the three Irish players in front of him.


Silva is at his best when he is given the freedom and license to drift around the field. Coach Vicente Del Bosque will likely once again deploy a free-flowing attack, which perfectly suits Silva. Unlike Spain’s previous tournament successes, many of their key players from then are not available this time around. Silva often got overshadowed by Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, Mata, etc. in Spain’s midfield, but this time around he will lead the team as the Spaniards look to make history once again.


This Summer

Silva is poised to make another deep run in the tournament, hoping to make it 3 consecutive Euro crowns for Spain. He will have no trouble dictating the attack against Czech Republic, who never kept a clean sheet in qualifying. Turkey went on an amazing run to clinch a spot in the tournament, only conceding 1 goal in their last 5 games. Can Silva break the Turks form? He will have to be on his top game against an incredibly talented Croatian side, with the likes of Modric and Rakitic running their midfield. Spain is looking to recover from their embarrassment in Brazil, and despite their poor performance then Spain are one of the favorites here thanks to stars like David Silva.


By Kuber Madhok and Trung Can


How to cite this page: “Euro 2016 Players to Watch: David Silva”, written by Kuber Madhok and Trung Can (2016). Introduction to Euro 2016, Players to Watch, European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University,…atch-david-silva/(accessed on (date)).


“David Silva.” Whoscored. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <>.