Exclusive interview part two: Fabio Silva on difficult 2021/22 Wolves season and family life
Arriving as an 18-year-old for a £35million record fee, the pressure was on Fabio Silva to perform.
But that pressure was not instant. Fans were certainly hoping for big things when he made his mega-money switch in 2020, but with Raul Jimenez still at the peak of his powers in Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves team, Silva began his journey as understudy.
That changed quickly after Jimenez’s horrific head injury, and Silva was suddenly thrown in at the deep end.
“Sometimes I say I had to grow up too quickly,” Silva said in his extended exclusive interview with the Express & Star.
“At 18-years-old most players play in the second team of their club, or second division, and I arrived here with Raul in my position.
“After his injury I had to go quickly to the pitch to show myself. I didn’t have time to learn, feel the league and take my time to improve and know the way we play.
“Everything went quickly and sometimes people forget, but this is normal in football.”
As a teenager adapting to life in the Premier League, Silva was criticised by pundits and questioned by some supporters.
In the three years since that experience, Silva believes he has grown as a player and a person and no longer allows that criticism to affect him.
“At that time, when I listened to some comments and people speaking, I would feel sad or bad, but now I don’t care what people say or think about me,” he added.
“I know when I play bad and when I play good, so I take my own perspective from the game. I can see it for myself when I see the videos of the game, where I have to do better.
“When people speak now I don’t have to listen or read it. In the good moments you read it and think ‘wow, I’m good’, but after you have a bad game the same guys criticise you.
“I have to enjoy and do my best, but not stay happy because of one game. I continue to work and believe in myself.”
But how did Silva stop the criticism from affecting him?
As he begins to open up on his time at Wolves, the conversation turns to the 2021/22 season.
Bruno Lage is taking his first season in charge and sidelines Silva. The striker has to settle for late substitute appearances and starts in cup competitions and as he reflects on that season, reveals the mental anguish he faced on a weekly basis.
“I can tell you, in my second season here at Wolves, it was the most difficult season in my career,” Silva said.
“Sometimes I started to have doubts about myself and my football because of what people say, or things inside the club and the dressing room.
“I tell the truth, sometimes there were difficult days at home and I cried alone. I don’t have a problem saying that because I’m a normal person and I have my bad moments too.
“But sometimes I don’t listen to people because they don’t know how it is inside the club. They don’t know how I push myself to be my best version, I work for 17-18 hours, arrive home and work with my personal trainer and have my physios.
“I dedicate so much to football so when people speak, I was a little sad. It was unfair because they didn’t know the sacrifice I make to be at my best level.
“That season could now be the key for my career because it gave me a lot of good things. I had moments alone crying thinking about what I can improve and I grew up. I am stronger for the next year when I went on loan to feel happy again and feel confidence again.
“Now I’m 100 per cent good and if I have something not so good, I have learned how to take care of it.”