It’s been quite a week for highly-rated Peterborough United teenager Leo da Silva Lopes.
A first call-up to a Portuguese national side - he chose the country of his birth despite interest from England - was quickly followed by his 100th Posh appearance at Bury last night (March 13), a remarkable achievement for a player who is just 19.
Da Silva Lopes also appears to have a big fan in new Posh boss Steve Evans.
The Posh Academy graduate was restored to his preferred position of central midfield for Evans’ first game in charge of the club against Charlton last weekend and earned rave reviews from his latest manager.
Da Silva Lopes will miss the League One game against Bristol Rovers at the ABAX Stadium on March 24 after a call-up to Portugal under 20s for European Elite competition games against Germany and England.
“I have always wanted to play for Portugal, but I didn’t think it would ever happen so it was a pleasant surprise,” modest Da Silva Lopes stated.
“I am looking forward to the whole experience.
“I certainly didn’t expect to reach 100 appearances at the age of 19. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I am experienced because I am still young, but I feel that I know the league reasonably well now.
“I am still learning though. I always wanted to play in central midfield so it was nice to be back in there on Saturday and it was good to help the team get a win. It was also a vital win at Bury.
“We have around 10 games to go and we are looking forward to the challenge that we have in front of us.”
Evans is unsurprised by his young midfielder’s international call-up. He believes he has a top prospect under his care.
“Leo is a player who can play in a lot of different positions,” Evans said. “He played in a two-man midfield with Chris Forrester against Charlton and was up against three central midfield players, but I didn’t think at any point we were overrun in there so credit to both of them.
“Leo has also played in the more advanced midfield position and he can play as a right-sided midfielder. He has also done well as a right-back and a right wing-back.
“It’s a great achievement to reach 100 Posh appearances at his age. At Bury I saw a 19 year-old playing like a 29 year-old. His passing was good and he picked up more second balls than anyone else.”