To say that Adrien Silva’s career has not followed a traditional path would be an understatement. He was born in France, returned to his parents’ home town in the north of Portugal as a child, and moved – on his own – to Lisbon at the age of 12 to play for Sporting. The trials of being so far away from one’s family in order to attend a football academy certainly helped to forge his strength of character. He was always among the top players throughout the various age-groups, and while still a junior, he made his debut for the Lions’ first team in 2007.
Paulo Bento, who would go on to coach the Portuguese national team, saw enough quality in him to keep him up with the big boys, and he made regular appearances over the following three seasons. He then went out on loan for half a season to Maccabi Haifa in Israel, before joining Academica Coimbra on his return to Portugal. He was still under contract with Sporting however, and returned in 2012/13. Silva made his international debut in November 2014, and went on to make four appearances during Portugal's triumphant UEFA EURO 2016 campaign.