Wolves striker Fabio Silva has told FourFourTwo that Everton centre-back Yerry Mina is the toughest defender he has so far faced in his fledgling career.
The 19-year-old faced Mina twice in his debut Premier League campaign last season, with the Toffees winning both. Silva played 168-minutes over the encounters, which ended 1-0 at Goodison Park and 2-1 at Molineux. Ruben Neves scored Wolves’ goal in their home loss.
Silva has also faced Manchester United’s £80m enforcer Harry Maguire, Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu and James Tarkowski twice, without beating either. While the Portugal U21 star remains on four goals in 35 league games since joining Wolves for £35.5m last September.
Silva believes Mina has been the toughest defender he has faced as the Everton ace annoys opposing strikers. Suggesting the £120k-a-week Colombian has the ability to get under an opponent’s skin and frustrate them into making mistakes.
“Mina from Everton,” Silva said. “He was the most annoying one I came up against. He’s Colombian, so I think it’s part of his culture to try to get into your head; play mind games; say things to provoke you. But I’m calm on the pitch and don’t pay attention.”
Silva also faced Mina’s teammates Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate twice across Wolves’ meetings with Everton last season. Godfrey featured at right-back in the Goodison Park affair in May and left-back at Molineux, with Holgate on the right in January.
Holgate and right-sided centre-half Mina were in direct opposition to Silva at Molineux while featuring at left-wing. Nuno Espirito Santo saw enough from Wolves’ record-signing to replace the teenager in the 78th-minute in search of another equaliser.
How did Everton defender Mina perform against Wolves striker Silva?
Mina played his part in a resilient Everton defence against Wolves in January to help silence Silva from the wing. His performance was not flawless, with the Colombian attempting a handful of mistimed challenges. But his partnership with Holgate, often kept busy, worked.
Mina was again solid in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park in May, standing up to almost everything Wolves attempted. This time pairing with Seamus Coleman and Keane centrally to silence Silva, who only managed one half-chance on goal.
Rafa Benitez will hope to see more of the same from Mina – if selected – when Everton face a different sort of attack to what Silva offers at home to Burnley on Monday night.