Marco Silva has saluted Willian’s spirit after the veteran winger put a painful return to his native Brazil behind him to enjoy an improbable Premier League renaissance at Fulham.

Eyebrows were raised when the Whites signed the 34 year-old former Chelsea and Arsenal wide man on a short-term deal in September after he cut short a stint with Corinthians when death threats were made against his family, but the wily winger has since surpassed Fernandinho as the top Brazilian appearance maker in the Premier League with a series of superb showings that have rolled back the years. Silva, speaking of this afternoon’s trip to Manchester City, believes that Willian is playing well enough to extend his stay at Craven Cottage beyond the end of this season.

“He is a top-class player and he is enjoying his football again. It [his appearance record] is a great achievement and a difficult one as well. He deserves all this noise around him right now because even with his career and everything he has done in his career, he is still a really humble football player, a good professional, so easy to deal with him every single day.

He is always trying to learn even though he is 34. Always really pleased to come to training every single day and his performances have been really good. And I know that there is definitely much more to come. I don’t know if next season he will play again but he has the capacity to do it.

Let’s see. I had the conversation with him before he signed and it was a good conversation between me and him. And we will talk again in the future. Now, we have to enjoy every single day with him and every single match he plays in our shirt. To see him happy is really important for me as a manager and to see our fans really pleased to see Wilian really pleased to be wearing our shirt makes me really happy as well. It is up to me to keep getting the best out of him. I want to enjoy having Willian with us as long as I can.”