When the likes of Jose Nasazzi, Obdulio Varela and Diego Lugano have all slipped on the armband for your country, it takes a special sense of responsibility to serve as Uruguay captain. Fortunately for the Celeste line-up at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013, Gaston Silva has shown himself to have all the qualities required to lead his colleagues with aplomb.
Calm, vigilant and always where he needs to be, the centre-back is the type of player who reassures team-mates while terrorising opposition forwards both in the tackle and in the air. He is also fully aware of the glittering names to have spearheaded Uruguay efforts in the past. "Every team needs to be able to rely on a player with that type of personality," Silva told FIFA.com. "In every team there has been a big name in that role, and it's an honour for me to follow in their footsteps. In addition to their talents as players, they were always there to push their teams forward during difficult moments. And having a defender as captain is important because he sees the whole game in front of him, his team-mates as well as his opponents."
Having helped Uruguay finish runners-up to the hosts in the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011, Silva is now bent on continuing his Turkish adventure for as long as possible. "That tournament and that final will always be great memories for me," said the Defensor Sporting enforcer. "I hope we can repeat that here with the U-20 side. We have one more match before we get there, but I hope that the result in the final will be different this time."
He may be a fan of Chelsea centre-back David Luiz, but right now Silva is relishing the chance to imitate Fenerbahce crowd favourite Lugano by leaving his mark in Turkey. To do so, he can count on sterling support from a Uruguay team as united as they are motivated, with every player fulfilling an important role. And with time ticking down before their semi-final against Iraq, FIFA.com asked their skipper for a privileged introduction to the squad.
FIFA.com: Gaston, who is the quickest player in the team – and who is the slowest?
Gaston Silva: Diego Laxalt! He's like an arrow and he's undoubtedly the fastest player in the squad. That's a great asset to have because sometimes you need a player who can make the difference with his speed. As for the slowest, it's difficult to say. There are players who don't need to be quick given the positions they play; they have other skills and compensate by having qualities useful to their positions, be it in defence, attack or midfield.
Who has the most powerful shot?
Without doubt, I'd say Lucas Olaza. He hasn't had the chance to play in this tournament yet and demonstrate the power he has, but he's a very good player and the one who hits the ball the hardest.
Who is the most combative player in the squad?
There are quite a few, and Uruguayan teams always have them. I think I'm one of them. On the pitch, I contest every ball as if it were my last. We also have Sebastian Cristoforo in midfield, and he's a real warrior. With him in the middle and me in defence, we're pretty well armed to go into any battle.
Who is the most talented player on the ball?
We have really good players in this team, but some of them – especially the attacking players – are a notch above: namely Giorgian de Arrascaeta, Diego Rolan and Nicolas Lopez. But If I had to choose just one, the player with the best technique of all, everyone in the side knows that it's De Arrascaeta.
Who spends the most time in front of the mirror?
Ah, the player who takes the most care of himself is Gianni Rodriguez.
Who is the intellectual in the squad?
Maximiliano Amondarain is the real brain. He talks a lot, studies a lot and he can speak foreign languages. He hasn't played yet either, but in addition to his knowledge he can bring the team a lot.
Who is the squad DJ – the player who chooses the music in the coach and dressing room?
That's Gianni Rodriguez. He's put himself in charge of creating the atmosphere in the dressing room and hotel. The music we're listening to the most at the moment is Uruguayan plena music and cumbia, and the group we've mostly been listening to is Mala Tuya. When we win, though, we listen to the song of the national team, which everyone in the country sings whenever Uruguay play: Cielo de un solo color (Sky of One Colour).
Who is the joker in the team?
There are lots of players who like to make jokes, but the specialist once again is Gianni Rodriguez. That's part of who he is: the music, that's him; the jokes, that's him again. He's always in a good mood – that's his character, his personality. It's important to have someone like that in the squad to maintain a good ambiance.
Who snores when he sleeps – and who has to share a room with him?
Guillermo Varela! It's impossible not to hear him. And he shares his room with Jose Gimenez, but he's not particularly bothered by it because he snores as well.
Which players are inseparable?
We have two players who never leave each other's sides and spend all their time together: Giorgian de Arrascaeta and Gino Acevedo. They've known each other for a very long time and they've done everything together since we've been here. They room together and sit next to each other on the coach as well. When you find one of them, the other is never far.
Who is the king of the games room?
Ah, on that score we all bow to Diego Rolan, who plays all the time, especially on the PlayStation. He can never get enough and he always wants to win.
Who spends the most time using social media, with their nose buried in a smartphone or computer?
Quite a few players spend a lot of time doing that. Most of us use all the different communication tools, but the one who depends on them more than everyone else is perhaps Jose Gimenez. He's always on social networks and he never stops sending messages.
Who always turns up late for everything?
I don't like to give anyone away, but I have to say that 'Gonzalito' (Gonzalo) Bueno is always late.
Lastly, who will lift the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 trophy on Saturday?
Naturally, I hope it will be a Uruguay player. If so, it won't be one player but two who lift the trophy: my friend Emiliano Velazquez, who I'm sharing a room with, and me. I dream of that moment and we think about it all the time. The whole squad deserves to experience that moment. After that, I have trouble even imagining the joy we'll feel if we make it.