De Silva ready for Serie A step
The Roma-bound 18-year-old attacking midfielder has all the talent, and was on Saturday called into the Australia squad for June's World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan.
Since you signed with Roma, have you been to Italy to speak to any of the coaches and see the setup?
Yeah, I went there for eight days earlier in the year, and it was really good and I saw the setup and all that. I didn’t get to meet the coaches and stuff because they were away travelling and playing games, but I did meet the directors and they all seemed like really lovely genuine people.
Will you be starting in the Primavera (youth team) or will you be in the reckoning for the first team?
When I get there I will start in the first team, and then see how we go from there. Whether or not I stay there will depend on how well I do. So I’ve signed a first-team contract.
Has it always been your ambition to play in the Serie A and did you have any heroes or players that you modelled your game on that played in Italy?
Yeah, obviously it’s going to be great to play in the Serie A. It's such a great league. It’s starting to pick up. There are obviously some great players in Roma – Miralem Pjanic and Francessco Totti. It’s going to be great to play with them and learn some of their tricks.
You made your debut for Perth Glory at just 15. What was the feeling like, making your professional debut at such a young age?
It was obviously such a great feeling playing professional football at such a young age at 15 and it made it more special coming on and playing against Alessandro Del Piero – one of the Serie A greats. Obviously he had a great career in Italy playing for Juventus, so it was a really great feeling and it is something I will always remember.
You came to prominence playing for the Young Socceroos at the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey, scoring against Colombia. That put you on the football map. Can you tell us about that experience?
That’s one of my favourite experiences and football memories – playing at the Youth World Cup and scoring and being the youngest player in the tournament to score. It obviously turned out well for me in my career. It was a great experience. You just have to work hard to get there and once you get there you have to try and do your best. It was a great experience and something I learned from.
You were voted in the top 40 best young players in the world by The Guardian newspaper in the UK late last year. How do you deal with the pressures of being a modern-day footballer?
I try not to let the pressure get to me … I just try and have fun with all the football; there is a serious side to it as well, that I take seriously. I think when you are enjoying it and having fun that’s what I just try and do.
Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Check out the latest episode of the A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler here. It's the end of season review.