Mariners star De Silva rewarded for standout month
Central Coast Mariners coach Paul Okon says he's blessed to have Daniel De Silva in Gosford and the same can be said about the young star's presence in the Hyundai A-League.
Back in Australia after honing his craft with Eredivisie outfit Roda JC, De Silva became the season's second NAB Young Footballer of the Year nominee for a marvellous run of performances in November.
The 20-year-old capped his classy month with a prominent role in the Mariners' second win of the campaign on Saturday, a 4-1 crushing of Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand.
De Silva guided the visitors to a two-goal buffer with a calmly-taken finish in the 54th minute, doubling his season tally.
And he was involved in just about everything else, setting Andrew Hoole through for an early chance and later winning possession in the lead-up to his side's third at Westpac Stadium.
Masterminding that victory followed a fortnight on from his key role in the memorable upset of champions Sydney FC.
Disappointed to spurn an early chance against Brisbane Roar the previous week, De Silva impressed with his poise in going head-to-head with the likes of Josh Brillante and Brandon O'Neill.
Perhaps most pleasing has been the development of other facets of the playmaker's game.
De Silva has started all eight matches for the Mariners this season and completed no fewer than 80 minutes in each of his four fixtures in November.
Despite giving away a few kilograms, he's shown a willingness to compete by contesting 96 duels over the course of the campaign and winning almost 80 per cent of his tackles.
It's the kind of form which could see the Australian youth international - a preliminary member of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup squad - return to the national team fold in the near future.