Silva insists he never doubted Willian could still cut in in the Premier League

Marco Silva insists he never had any doubts Willian could still cut it at Premier League level.

The 34-year-old former Chelsea wide-man was outstanding for Fulham in their impressive 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Thursday.

Willian, who endured an unhappy stint at Arsenal, recently returned to English football following a brief spell with his hometown team Corinthians.

He rolled back the years against Villa, putting in the kind of display that made him such a popular player during his eight seasons at Chelsea.

Fulham have won both matches he has started this season, with his debut for the club coming in the 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest last month.

“He is top level and a top guy who still loves football and that is a great thing for me,” Whites boss Silva said.

“Every single day he comes in to training he has a smile on his face and even at 34 he is still learning and wants to keep improving.

“I think he showed the quality to make the right decisions and he was really good (against Villa), and although from a collective point of view it is hard to single out a man of the match because the team did so well, he was really good.”

Willian spent a month training with Fulham before being offered a contract.

But Silva maintains he was never on trial at the club and the delay in getting an agreement over the line was simply down to seeing if the former Brazil international still had the desire to play at the highest level.

“I never doubted his quality, but we had to think about his age, and in the minds of some people was his last spell at Arsenal where in the last few months he wasn’t at his best,” he said.

“But I remember at Arsenal he had a very good impact at the start and although you can’t compare the competition in Brazil to the Premier League, we watched him when we knew there was a chance we might get him.

“Even there he had some really good moments, so it wasn’t a trial – it was just having a conversation to see where he was at.

“I didn’t need to see him train, or see his quality on the ball, it was just a matter of him feeling us and see how he felt about being here with us every day.

“Then it was a case of me and him talking and we then took the decision together and it was the best for him and the football club.

“Despite all of his success, he is a humble guy, a top professional and a brilliant guy to have around.”