35: Daniel De Silva - Pocket Rocket

At the time of judging and writing, he appeared destined to move to Roma and at least a year on the Serie A sidelines. Instead the teen switched at the last moment to Roda and now Daniel De Silva could go from strength to strength...

Pocket Rocket

Position Attacking midfielder Club Roma (now Roda)
From Perth Glory to Roma is a giant leap, but De Silva, 18, is not intimidated.
“Obviously a little nervous and excited because I’m going to be with such big players like Totti, De Rossi and Gervinho so it’s going to be a little daunting,” he told FourFourTwo before the move fell through and he joined Roda in the Eredivisie instead.
“But I’m sure they’re all going to be nice lads, so I’m just looking forward to being a part of that team and learning off them.
“My contract is for five years so it’s a very long time and I’m still very young. The first year for me is just getting a feel for the club, getting a feel for what the players are like and the coach.
“Maybe I can try to push into the first team – obviously it will be difficult at the start, being so young and everything – but just working hard in training and build some friendships.”
De Silva heads for Serie A on the back of a solid season with Glory and impressive performances in the Green and Gold, including a debut call up for the senior Socceroos.
“When I first started there, I was only 15,16, and obviously now I’m 18 so as you get older, you get a bit more football smart off the pitch as well as on the pitch,” he says.
“My main goal was to play as much first team football as I could. It would have been good if I could have played more, but I was in and out of national teams as well.
“I was just mainly trying to prepare myself as much as I could for when I head overseas.
“I’ll be in Italy, so it’s going to be another step up obviously from the A-League. It’s going to be a lot different, obviously in a different country, different culture and everything so it’s a different lifestyle completely.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”