Gary Neville fears Chelsea new boy Thiago Silva will struggle to cope with Premier League as he turns 36 this month

GARY Neville has said he fears for Chelsea new boy Thiago Silva as the 35-year-old prepares to start his Premier League adventure.

The Brazilian did not feature last night as Chelsea won 3-1 at Brighton but Sky pundit Neville is worried England's top division will be difficult to adjust to when he does eventually play.


The centre-backed signed for Chelsea for free in the summer after captaining Paris-Saint Germain in their Champions League final defeat and helping them to another Ligue 1 title.

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But despite his decorated career, Neville was unconvinced on how his Premier League career would fare with the player turning 36 later this month.

He said on Sky's Monday Night Football: "Again, it’s an unknown. 35 [years old], 36 next week, played in the French league now for a number of years.

"The intensity in the French league is nothing like our league. That’s not to say Paris Saint-Germain are not a great team, they just got to the Champions League final, but you’re talking about the Premier League.

"Particularly the intensity of this Premier League season, it’s compact.

"It’ll be a massive challenge for him in terms of the amount of games, the speed of football compared to what he’s been used to. It’ll be a step up in that respect."

Manager Frank Lampard is looking to fix a leaky Chelsea defence which shipped 54 goals last season, the most of any team who has finished in the top 4 in the Premier League era.

Along with Silva, he has also brought in 21-year-old Malang Sarr, who is set to spend his first season on loan away from Stamford Bridge.

The Blues are also closing in on goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, with Lampard keen on a replacement in between the sticks for the mistake-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Neville is unsure on the effect all of the change and uncertainy will have on Silva.

He added: "Can he play in matches, can he play at this level? Of course he can, he’s a world class player.

"But at this stage in his career… again when you ask if Chelsea can win the league, it’s just a complete unknown. Will he adapt?

"What’s the goalkeeper going to be like? How the forwards are going to adapt?

"There’s a lot of unknowns with Chelsea. But on the other side of that, massive excitement.

"I’m intrigued to see how this world class defender who’s played many years for Brazil, been a wonderful player for Paris Saint-Germain, is going to do in our league."

Timo Werner, another new signing, also had an opinion on the uniqueness of the top-flight after impressing at the Amex.

He said he was surprised by the "big massive defenders" he came across on his debut last night.

Chelsea host Liverpool on Sunday looking to keep up their 100% start to the league campaign, where Silva could make his debut.

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