Author: Freddie Lammie
Freddie Lammie speaks to Brentford’s No.10, Josh Dasilva, who is aiming to make up for lost time by announcing himself onto the Premier League stage.
TSS: Tell us a bit about who Josh DaSilva really is.
JDS: I’m just a calm and relaxed person. I love spending time with my family and friends. Of course I love going out to eat but usually I just love chilling at home with my close friends and family. That’s about it.
I have a good interest in animal programmes. National Geographic is one of my things now! If I’m not watching football, that’s probably what I’m watching. I wouldn’t say I have a passion but I have a strong interest and could sit down for a long time watching shows.
As a player, I’d say I’m an 8, a box-to-box midfielder and I’ve learnt how to defend as well!
TSS: Who got you into playing football?
JDS: It was more my brothers who got me into football. Outside, where we used to live, we had a football court. Even when my parents took me to Arsenal, they didn’t really understand! They were just taking me because I enjoyed it. I think my brothers got me into it and they probably knew more and realised that I could do well with football. They would always drop me and support me. I don’t think they understood it really and how big it could become.
TSS: When did you understand?
JDS: I would say fully not until I started playing at Brentford. Of course, you’re playing at Arsenal but you hear so many names about when they were younger they were the next big thing and they faltered. Having the courage to leave Arsenal, which my brothers and my agent basically gave me, and going to a Championship club in Brentford, that’s when I knew I could do well. You never know really until you play mens football. I was never the kid that was hyped. If these guys were supposed to be this good and they can’t even get to this certain level, how am I going to do it.
TSS: What managers have you enjoyed a particularly close bond with over the years?
JDS: There’s a few at different points. At U14s, I had a stint where I wasn’t doing well and nearly got released. There was a coach called Steve Leonard and him and Kwame [Ampadu]put so much confidence in me. That was a turning point as I was so close to getting released. When I went up to Hale End, I’d say Kwame and Thierry [Henry] [were very important]. They could tell I was raw and sat me down, showing me the fundamentals of being a midfielder.
Coming to Brentford, there you have Thomas [Frank], Brian [Riemer] and Kev [O’Connor]. There’s three or four stages where different coaches helped me elevate onto the next step.
TSS: You turned down a new contact at Arsenal in the summer of 2018! How difficult was that decision?
JDS: It was the hardest decision of my life. For a long time, I still thought I was going to sign for Arsenal but it just got to a point where I thought maybe not. I had been there for 10 years and made lifelong friends. Arsenal was all I had known. First and foremost, I’ve got to put my career first.
We knew Arsene [Wenger] was leaving and Unai [Emery] was coming in and I just wasn’t feeling it. My brother and my agent gave me the biggest confidence to make the step to the Championship and put myself in the shop window. Ultimately, it worked. People ask me whether I regret leaving Arsenal and I don’t regret it one bit.
TSS: Why Brentford then?
JDS: I was supposed to sign for Birmingham but I failed a medical with an injury that I didn’t know I even had. The injury wasn’t too bad. I had a stress fracture but I can understand why Birmingham halted on the deal. Brentford found out but didn’t care and wanted to sign me anyway.
They knew that Arsenal thought quite highly of me and put me straight with the first team. I signed injured and had to play 3 or 4 B-team games. Brentford’s recruitment is based a lot on stats and I don’t have any stats! Rob Rowan had obviously watched me play and they made it happen. They didn’t care about my injury. I had a meeting with Rob Rowan and Dean Smith at the time. As soon as I left that meeting, I said to my agent that the deal had to be done!
TSS: Would it be fair to say that you took to men’s football like a duck to water?
JDS: It’s not as easy as it looks. There’s also a lot of hard work and a lot of stuff going on behind to make it look like it was that easy. I was in and out of the team in my first season. I scored and started in a few games. In my second season, I started the first two games and thought that this could be my proper breakthrough season but I didn’t start for the next eight. Obviously you’re young and I want to play so I’m chatting to the gaffer. I started and scored again and played for the whole season.
When we got promoted, we went 22 games unbeaten. We knew going into games that we were good enough to beat anyone on our day. I remember scoring two at Reading and we went top of the league.
TSS: You’ve had a really tough time with injuries recently, with a potentially career-ending hip injury ruling you out for just under a year! Talk us through the timeline of your injury.
JDS: It happened in training and I didn’t think anything of it. It was weird because I was playing on painkillers and playing well. This was when we were going on our unbeaten run. I felt the best I had felt. I didn’t want it to stop!
One specialist said if you carry on your hip will shatter and you’re finished. That’s the last thing you want to hear! When he said that I laughed. The best case scenario was getting me back for January 2022.
I was on crutches for four months. I was waiting on scans, waiting on scans, waiting on scans. It was easier because we ended up getting promoted to the Premier League. The boys made it better for me by getting promoted. It was a bad situation but I made the best out of it.
TSS: You are now fully fit going into the new Premier League season! What are your plans and goals for 2022/23?
JDS: Obviously I had a little taste of it last season. I just want to play as many games as I can. I was getting back fit, then got the red card and did my hamstring! I’ve had a good rest. It’s a joy to play football. I don’t try to put too much pressure on myself. You perform best when you’re happy. For me, it’s only a matter of time before I can show what I’m about. When the time comes, I’ve just got to take it with both hands!
TSS: Thank you for your time Josh! Make sure you follow the socials if you haven’t already! You can find us @thesecretscout1 on Instagram, @TheSecretScout_ on Twitter, and THESECRETSCOUT on YouTube! Stay tuned for more content coming your way…