A-League 'blessed' to have Daniel De Silva playing in it - Paul Okon
Central Coast coach Paul Okon is almost evangelical when it comes to singing the praises of Mariners attacking midfielder Daniel De Silva.
The 20-year-old playmaker featured prominently in the Mariners' 4-1 win over Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, grabbing his second goal of the A-League season in a dominant performance.
The win shunted Central Coast four places up the ladder into fifth and left Wellington anchored at the bottom in 10th.
Okon says it is pleasing to see De Silva grow stronger with every game after his return to the A-League in July from Dutch side Roda JC.
"I'm the most biased person to talk about Danny, " said Okon, who also coached De Silva in the Australian under-20 and under-23 teams.
"We know that we're blessed, not so much for tonight but we see him every day, we work with him every day.
"The moment I got this job at the Mariners, he was the one player I was desperate to have.
"I managed to finally get him, and he's here for performances like that."
Okon says De Silva's vision, speed and work ethic are huge assets, and the youngster will benefit from the boost in confidence his goal will bring.
"Apart from the fact of what he brings to the team with his footballing ability, he works the most, he runs the most and he really annoys defenders with the way he presses the ball.
"For him to get his goal tonight was superb. It's an area of his game we feel he needs to improve, his finishing, and the fact that he got a goal will be great for his confidence."
The Mariners host fourth-placed Perth Glory next weekend, and although they're still not at full strength, Okon is encouraged by the way his players are stepping up.
Defender Storm Roux and Spanish striker Asdrubal are close to shaking off their injuries, but Okon has no complaints with the way their teammates have filled the gaps.
"While we don't want to have people out and missing, I think it's great for us that we've got people that can come in and do a job," he said.
"There's competition there, and that's what we want."