‘We have great confidence'

“All I want to do is win the Premier League. I don't stop to think about being named as the Player of the Year. It's not something that interests me,” says David Silva in this email interview with Ayon Sengupta.

Much to the disappointment of English tabloid writers, the racy rumours about a skilled machete fighter making it to the rungs of Premiership appeared to be a dud a couple of years back. But in his 20 months in English soil, 5' 7” David Silva has proved the gossip to be almost true. He has cut open defences and won over hearts effortlessly, his movements in the field, precise and efficient, like those of the medieval Japanese swordsmen.

Amongst the retinue of entertainers assembled by the petro dollars of Qatari owners of the blue side of Manchester, it is the 26-year-old from Arguineguin, born to mixed parents (his father, Fernando, is Canarian while his mother, Eva, is of Japanese descent) who has shone the brightest and, most importantly, with unimaginable consistency.

His mercurial talent has earned him the nickname ‘Merlin' (the sorcerer from Arthurian legend) from his City team-mates and he definitely needs to express his wizardry in its full array till the end of the term if City wants to win its first English league crown since 1968.

The Spanish international is buoyed by the success so far and is confident of a happy ending to the season. “There is only one fear in our squad — my promise that I will organise a mad festival if we win the Premier League,” Silva says. “Both United and us have had very good seasons and everyone is excited about how things will end up, especially in Manchester. Both teams have great players and we have a big game against each other at our stadium (April 30). That will probably play a big part in deciding who wins the league.”

As City shows first signs of pressure, dropping points against easy oppositions, Silva is quick to denounce any dressing room psychosis and rubbishes any talks of frayed nerves. “No, not really,” he retorts. “We know that we have the strength inside our dressing room and the talent to play good football. We know that on our day we can beat anyone, and we have great confidence.”

In the 30 league games he has played this season, the former Valencia man has already notched up five strikes, an incredible number of 12 assists and an 88 percent pass completion record, making him one of the top contenders for England's Player of the Year Award as well as the more prestigious Ballon d'Or. “It has been a great season for me and for the Club. We have had some fantastic results and are challenging for the league title, so that is definite progress for us,” he agrees.

However, Silva is quick to distance himself from any ambitions of personal glory. “All I want to do is win the Premier League. I don't stop to think about being named as the Player of the Year. It's not something that interests me,” he explains. “I love compliments, of course I do. Everybody wants to receive compliments. But the team is the important thing and I'd rather win things as a team than finish up with individual honours.”

His GBP 25 million move from his boyhood club Valencia in July of 2010 had raised eyebrows as many had raised doubts about his effectiveness in the more physical English game given his frail stature and also the vast difference in work culture between the two countries. “People have often said that to me, but I think I have shown that I can play good football in England,” the Spanish international says. “I have learned how to play the game here, it is a fast and competitive style, but I enjoy it very much.”

But it was not all easy going. The unpredictable weather and the Queen's language did take its toll on him. “It's difficult to adapt to the weather and lifestyle here, but as a professional, it's something that you just have to do,” he says. “Of course, it is very different (from Spain). People have been very good to me and made it easy for me to settle in. It seems a long time now since my move from Spain and I am happy in England now.”

The gruelling EPL and Cup schedules, however, haven't helped him to brush his language skills and Silva complains that he only has had time to take English lessons for three months. Though not proficient enough to give lengthy interviews in it, he claims to be comfortable enough to engage in dressing room banters. No other City stars were willing to come out and confirm it!.

The 26-year-old is reluctant to accept the English clubs' UEFA Champions League misadventure this season and is comfortable tagging it as just a misfortune. “If you are talking about the Champions League, I think it could be a strange season for England. Chelsea are still there, and Arsenal went very close against Milan in the end. We had such a very tough group, we beat Villareal twice and also Munich, but still went out, with 10 points,” he explains. “So it was very unfortunate for us. I think if we played the group stages again both United and us would have a great chance of going through.”

inevitably, the focus shifts to world and European champions Spain and Silva — now an integral part of the national side after being on the fringes for both Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup — lets out his sense of pride and accomplishment. “We are in a period of a great squad for Spain and I feel so very happy to be a part of it. As well as (having) great players though, you have to have a togetherness to win a World Cup and European Championship and that's what we have in the Spanish team,” the team-man says. “It is a privilege to play for them and we are looking forward to defending our title in the summer.”

And about Spain's chances in Ukraine and Poland 2012, he knows it will not be an easy job. “We hope to challenge again for the championship, and we have a good chance. But we will never be overconfident. We will respect all the opponents.” Silva says. “There are some great teams in Europe with some fantastic players who can win games against all opponents. We will have to be at our very best to win this summer.”

But with the ‘Machete' at his nonchalant best, Spain and Manchester City supporters can afford to dream big, indeed.