Pep Guardiola’s first recruit of the season made his first start against Bournemouth. Amidst all the madness surrounding Sterling’s extremely late winner and his red card, Bernardo Silva quietly made his own subtle impact.
If the first match is anything to go by, he will be more than just a namesake to the ‘other’ Silva – David.
Vincent Kompany described him as ‘the little wizard’ in the post-match reaction that was dominated by a combination of delight and anger over Sterling’s achievement and subsequent punishment, before quickly referencing his namesake David.
Silva senior has been the slick, serene fulcrum of City’s attacking threat for seven years.
And Bernardo showed in his 66 minutes at the Vitality Stadium that he can supplement – and eventually succeed – him in an equally unflustered fashion.
Guardiola was full of praise for the Portuguese midfielder before his start against Bournemouth and explained why they spent that much money to get him from AS Monaco.
“Of course I like midfield players who don’t lose the ball and can attack in the small spaces, they do the simple things and the difficult things,” he said.
“He’s a player that has this quality and especially his personality, how he played in the last 10-15 minutes against Everton, his first game in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium, and he tried to do things, he tried to fight, with personality – that’s why we decided to pick him up.”
Sceptics often suggest that the Premier League is not a place for players like him with a diminutive stature and it requires big burly presence but David Silva has time and again proved the critics wrong with the combination of skill and graft that have seen him enjoy so many successful seasons at Manchester City.
And Bernardo is already showing he is willing and able to follow the 31-year-old’s lead and, in Kompany’s words, ‘make it happen’.
Guardiola is happy to let him loose, with the new boy saying: “He asked me to be myself, to play as I did last season.”
The 23-year-old is unafraid of the physicality of the league even though it is something he did not face in Ligue 1 and is willing to adapt to it.
“It’s a very different league from the French one, from what I was used to,” he said. “It’s very physical. I am getting used to it and feeling very good here.”
He’s not yet fully up to speed as he arrived late to the club due to national team duties with Portugal in the Confederations cup. But the nimble-footed midfielder did enough to excite the City fans in the 65 mins he was on the field against Bournemouth.
City fans can expect the Silva service to continue for many more years to come even after Merlin hangs up his wand.