English youngster forging a football career abroad


Boavista youngster John Silva is dreaming of making the big time in Portugal – after leaving England with the aim of proving people wrong.

Silva had trials at West Ham, Fulham, Crystal Place and Tottenham but was turned down each time due to him being only 4ft 9in.

This was when he decided to take a risk and move try his luck in Portugal.

“It was always around one reason, it was always about my height,” Silva said. “In England they look more at height that technical ability.

“Physically, they said I wasn’t ready, and it hurts to hear those things when it’s something you can’t control.”

He added: “When I used to come on holiday to Portugal, I trained at a semi-pro team just to keep fit and the football here suited me a lot more, it’s more technical and, physically, I wasn’t at a huge disadvantage.”

The full-back initially joined Belenenses, before a big switch to Sporting after an impressive pre-season. Rio Ave followed before Silva opted for Boavista, who were making him a solid offer.

And the 17-year-old is finding Portuguese football very beneficial to his game.

He said: “My mentality has changed; I have to work twice as hard as the kids around me to put myself in a better position.

“I don’t regret anything I’ve done on my journey. The English game is so rough, so high-paced and I’ve kept that in my game and brought it to Portugal. It makes me stand out a lot more. The constant running, the high press, the tackles, the way the English game is played helps me a lot here.”

Credit – @johnsilva_official

The young star has his eyes fully set on the future and understands the unique position he is in, having found a comfortable home as a young player abroad.

He added: “My parents have always told me, half the opportunities I get, kids would die for,

“Playing at Palace, at Tottenham, at Sporting, when I tell people they don’t believe me because it’s such a big thing, but I never really appreciated it until now, I look back and think I’ve had a great opportunity.”

“I’m glad I was introduced to this from young, because it’s moulded me to the player I am now.”

Despite enjoying his football in the Atlantic sunshine, Silva still aspires to return to England in the future.

He said: “In the near future, I want to get into the first team, I don’t see why not if you put the work in,

“Just because I moved away doesn’t mean I don’t love the game in England, it’s where I want to see myself in the future, but I realise I need to mature my game a lot more before I can put myself in England.”

“I don’t have to receive loads of money; I just want to be making a living from football. I have this emotional attachment where if football doesn’t work out, you get lost in a way. All my life I’ve been thinking about making it pro, so I feel like it has to go right,

It’s a risk, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”


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