The Spanish playmaker has often been overlooked as the plaudits for Manchester City’s outstanding start to the season have poured in.
The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero, and Gabriel Jesus have all received plenty of praise for their performances for the unbeaten Premier League leaders.
Silva has gone by relatively unnoticed but with eight league assists to his name – two more than De Bruyne and Sane – his contributions have been just as significant. It is not just his build-up play, however, that has impressed Guardiola.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash with Southampton, the City manager said: “What I like the most about David – being a guy who’s a bit serious in his life, a little bit shy – is how competitive he is, and aggressive, in winning duels, when normally he is a guy more about technique and the pass.
“I admire him a lot. He perfectly suits Spanish football but here with the speed and the weather, the wind and the tough conditions, he has survived for a long time.
“I put a lot of attention on how players react in bad moments, during the game and in bad situations. David is always there and that’s so important for the club.
“Like Yaya Toure, Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, and Pablo Zabaleta, and many other players, he’s a real legend for this club. I hope he’ll continue for the next years.”
Silva, 31, joined City in 2010 and is currently in discussions over a new contract. His present deal ends in 2019 and he recently spoke of his desire to reach at least 10 years of service.
“When he can finally sign the contract we’ll be so happy,” Guardiola said. “The club needs players who’ve played here for a long time to help players like Phil Foden in the future.”
In terms of fitness and focus, Guardiola believes Silva is an excellent role model for that next generation of players, such as 17-year-old Foden.
“He looks skinny and like he doesn’t run too much but he’s never injured and every three days he’s fit, he’s there,” said Guardiola. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a friendly game or important game, he’s ready.
“I like guys who are strong and want to play, but I like more the guys who are not afraid to play all the time and with David you have that a lot.”
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pellegrino has admitted he did expect former team-mate Pep Guardiola to be so successful as a maanger
The pair, who won the La Liga title playing alongside each other at Barcelona during the 1998/99 season, will be in opposing dugouts tonight when Pellegrino’s Southampton attempt to end the unbeaten record of the Premier League leaders. While Pellegrino has yet to lift silverware as a coach, Guardiola has an extensive medal collection, picking up three Spanish league titles, three Bundesliga titles and two Champions League trophies during spells in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“I never imagined that he can achieve something like he did,” said Pellegrino, who joined Barca on a season-long loan from Argentinian club Velez Sarsfield.
“But obviously as soon as I arrived, Pep was one of these type of players always looking for new ideas, asking how we were training in Argentina, in different places. And also he had a good reading on the pitch and it’s something that after (he finished playing) he translated much better outside the pitch.”