Former Chelsea star Joe Cole says that summer arrival Thiago Silva is the second-best defender in the Premier League, behind Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, as reported by the Daily Star.

Silva joined the Blues from Ligue 1 outfit PSG in August aged 35, and arrived with plenty of question marks over his ability to still perform at the top level.

Ex-Chelsea midfielder Cole was one such doubter, but he admits that he has since been proven wrong due to Silva’s impressive performances under Frank Lampard.

The veteran defender has made nine appearances for his new club, helpling them to six clean sheets at the back.

Thiago Silva is ‘one of the great defenders of our generation’

“Out of all the signings, when he came in, I knew he’s been one of the great defenders of our generation, but at 36 – you worry,” said Cole in the Daily Star.

“Traditionally, for players of that age coming into the Premier League, it’s very difficult. The Premier League is a different beast now.

 

“I don’t think they make centre-halves like him now, apart from van Dijk, he’s the best in the league, maybe there’s an argument for it.”

Chelsea v Sheffield United - Premier League
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 07: Thiago Silva of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge on November 07, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Firm favourite for Lampard

Aside from a slip up in the league meeting with West Brom, Silva has been a solid addition to the Chelsea backline.

Lampard’s men boast one of the best defensive records in the competition this season, with their ten goals conceded bettered only by Tottenham’s nine.

The veteran defender has been key to such success, and has even been awarded with the captain’s armband on several occasions, such is his leadership at the back.

Inspiring those around him

According to Cole, Silva’s displays have also been hugely beneficial to the other central defenders at Stamford Bridge.

“For Rudiger, Zouma, or Christensen next to him, he sets the standards,” added Cole.

“That’s the level you want to get at if you want to class yourself as a world-class centre-half.”

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