Complete performances from De Silva are driving Macarthur forward
Aged 15, Daniel De Silva was one of Australia's most promising talents.
He became the second-youngest player in A-League Men history when he debuted for Perth Glory in a 2–1 home victory against Sydney FC in March 2013.
De Silva's young debut attracted interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs.
But he chose to sign for Perth after a deal with English Premier League side Everton fell through due to complications obtaining a visa.
Serie A side Roma announced that De Silva would join them after the 2014–15 A-League season for an undisclosed fee.
But Perth cancelled the deal after not receiving the first instalment of the fee.
A failed move abroad to the Netherlands with Roda JC led De Silva back to Australian shores with the Central Coast Mariners.
He also briefly went on loan to Sydney FC for a season.
After a successful 2020-21 season in Gosford, De Silva opted to move to Macarthur after his contract expired with Central Coast.
The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has continued to revitalise his career at the Bulls this season.
De Silva's heat map so far this season. (SofaScore)
The main conclusion from the heat map above is that De Silva is willing to work hard defensively.
Under Ante Milicic, De Silva leads the league in possession won in the final third.
In Macarthur's most recent win against Newcastle, De Silva was critical in helping the Bulls halt the Jets' continued dominance in progressing the ball from midfield after a dominant first half.
De Silva's tenacity to win the ball back high up the pitch helped Macarthur shift their mentality in that game to press higher, particularly in wide areas, despite being reduced to ten men.
In an attacking sense, the creative midfielder leads the league in assists, is second for big chances created with three, and has completed 2.6 successful dribbles per match.
According to FotMob's average match ratings, De Silva is third in the league, scoring 8.08 each match he has played.
The 24-year-old has over 82% pass accuracy per game, with precision in the attacking phase and an average of 21.4 passes accurate in his half.
The Australian also has 2.4 key passes per game alongside an average of 55 touches per game.
De Silva has four goals and assists so far this season from six appearances. (Getty Images)
De Silva averages at least two tackles per game and has won possession an average of 1.4 times, which is a metric he leads the league in so far.
He has won the ball back seven times in the opponent's final third.
It is no surprise that De Silva leads the league in assists; his passing is extremely accurate across ninety minutes.
De Silva completes over 2.6 successful dribbles per game, placing him with the league's best in that area.
He is also fouled by opponents an average of 1.4 times per game.
But he has also lost possession a league-high thirteen times this season.
At the Mariners, De Silva was often deployed as a wide midfielder.
He recently spoke about changing to his preferred position of number 10 at Macarthur.
“For me, it drew my attention, and that’s something I always wanted to do was play as a proper number 10,” De Silva told The Age.
“At previous teams, I have been on the wing, but this year I feel like I am a proper number 10, and that’s a position that best suits me.
“I have just been enjoying the football so far this season.
“If I continue to get some more assists and goals, then we will see what happens.”
Macarthur are second in the A-League Men table after a strong start to the season. (Getty Images)
De Silva will hope he can continue creating goals and eventually force his way into the plans of Socceroos coach Graham Arnold.
Despite a strong season last time out, he was not selected for the Olyroos squad that participated in the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year.
De Silva also commented on not making that squad.
“It was a bit disappointing, I thought I had a good season, but that’s football for you; things change,” he said.
“I had to cop it, and that’s it, that’s all there is to it. I was disappointed, but you have to keep moving forward.”
He has indeed moved forward, now settling into a team full of confidence and challenging near the top of the A-League Men table.
It seems like De Silva might finally be starting to reach the potential he supposedly had all those years ago.