Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Former Arsenal midfielder Josh Dasilva on his transition to Brentford and how he’s helped Dominic Thompson follow the same path 

Posted on 26 October 2019 by Hal Fish

Last season, Josh Dasilva made the difficult decision to leave Arsenal in pursuit of more first-team opportunities.

After starring in Brentford’s previous two league games, it seems as if the choice to leave his boyhood club is starting to pay-off.

Ahead of Monday night’s derby against QPR, the midfielder discussed his recent form.

“It’s been good,” Dasilva said at Brentford’s press conference. “Obviously there’s a lot of competition in midfield so you’ve just got to be ready. And when you come on, you just got to give it your best really. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

The 21-year-old came off the bench and scored against Millwall last week to kickstart an incredible comeback. Brentford turned around a two-goal deficit inside the final ten minutes of the game to win 3-2.

“It was a good moment, a good game changer. Obviously it’s a London derby so it’s always good to score. And I scored there last year, so it’s a bit of a thing. But yea, I enjoyed it,” Dasilva said of his goal.

His reward was a start in the Bees’ next fixture, an impressive 2-0 away win against Swansea City.

“I feel like it’s going well. Especially from just preseason I’ve learnt a lot. I’m continuing to learn, so it’s just about taking that belief and faith the coach is putting into me, and just trying to perform and pay it back on the pitch.”

Dasilva’s story – from Premier League product to Championship competitor – is not an uncommon one in football. Just one season later, he is helping fellow former Arsenal academy talent Dominic Thompson follow the same path.

The 21-year-old explained what he’s done to help Thompson settle into life at a new club after his summer move: “I’ve known Dom [Thompson] for a long time and did pretty much play with him when I was at Arsenal. And obviously we were always in and around each other because there was only a year difference.”

“I’d say he’s made a good transition and I’m just trying to help him in terms of what I’ve learnt coming from Arsenal into a new team. Even if it means helping with where he’s living or helping him on the pitch, just trying to help him and give as much advice as I can.”

The similarity in style that Arsenal and Brentford attempt to employ on the field is something that bodes well for both players.

“This is why I signed. Coming from Arsenal, the football is not that much different. So it didn’t really take me a long time to adapt in terms of playing,” Dasilva added.

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Despite seeing some of his former Arsenal youth teammates impress this season, Dasilva seems to harbour no resentment or regret: “Obviously I played with a few of them, so I’m happy with what they’re doing. But I’m on my own path, trying to concentrate and put my head down and work hard.

The talented midfielder was also part of England youth team that won the 2017 UEFA European Under-19 Championship.

Having come off the bench in the final, and sharing the pitch with the likes of Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Ryan Sessegnon, Dasilva reflected on those experiences positively.

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“Those were very good times, very good squad. I enjoyed it very much, working with those good young players. Now I’m seeing what they’re doing, I’m happy for them, it’s great,” he said.

But for now, his focus is set firmly on the near future: “[I just want] to play as much football as I can. So whenever I get the chance to play, whether that’s coming off the bench or starting, is just to make an impact and hopefully the manager can see that and I get the chance to play every game.”