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Tottenham’s Pedro Porro: ‘Tim Sherwood won’t be the first to shut up’ | tottenham hotspur

Sor this is awkward. It is a beautiful day in Las Rozas, 25 km northwest of Madrid, and Pedro Porro is sitting in the sun, happy to return to the Spanish team among old friends, when that the tirade rises. “Well, that’s his thing,” the Tottenham winger begins, not knowing what to say about the moment his own coach broke into the team he just joined, when he says: “The first thing is, what are you talking about? de: I hadn’t heard of it until now.” Wait, really? You mean you don’t know what Antonio Conte said? “Yeah.”

Oh. And so, the first time Porro finds out about Conte’s attack on Spurs is here, he is told secondhand and 1,000 km away. He listens to how after Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Southampton, a game in which Porro scored and which he just mentioned as a sign that things are improving, his coach assures that they couldn’t get any worse. Hear how Conte criticized the club’s culture, accusing his players of being 11 individuals and not a team. And they tell him that the coach declared “the history of Tottenham” a failure. Talk about ruining the moment.

As the recap comes to an end – “all in all, it was a big thing” – Porro pauses, says “pfff” and then he smiles, quickly responding: “Well, that’s his opinion”. There’s a laugh – not from him – and then, still smiling, she says: “I’m not going to get into that. That’s not one for me.”

Which seems fair enough. Imagine: you are young, you are a newcomer, you don’t speak the language and you are not even sure where you are yet, so much so that it takes you a while to remember the area you just visited. transferred to. During your debut, one of the ex-managers of the club tells you “so bad it’s unbelievable” and now someone tells you that the current manager, the guy who brought you in, said that And it probably won’t last much longer.

As Porro himself says, it is easy to imagine him “going blank, in a state of shock”. Instead, there’s that smile. He’s heard it all before, even if he didn’t hear this one. London is still where he wants to be (he lives in Barnet) and time is on his side. The decision to leave Sporting for this is not to be regretted, even though the Tottenham manager himself calls them losers. “No,” Porro insists, “I don’t think: ‘Where have I ended up?! What have I gotten myself into? You’re welcome.” And when asked about his long-term plan, the answer is unequivocal: “Play for Spurs, of course.”

“I am clear that what I want is for it to be a success for my team: that is what I am thinking about. We are out of the cups and we missed the last league game but I have confidence in myself and in the team. We can fix it, of course. Absolutely. And I feel better all the time.”

Pedro Porro scores for Tottenham in the 3-3 draw with Southampton with a right-footed shot
Pedro Porro scores for Tottenham in a 3-3 draw with Southampton. Spurs manager Antonio Conte criticized the team after the game. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Being here helps: international football and not a cloud in the sky. “Going home, being with Spain, is phenomenal; it fills you with pride,” says Porro. “I’ve been here for a long time with the Under 21s, they gave me confidence and if (coach Luis de la Fuente) has called me it’s because he thinks I can play, that I deserve it.”

Porro is only 23 years old but he knows what football can be like. At the age of 14, he left his house in Extremadura for Madrid, signing up for Rayo Vallecano, traveling “with fear, to see what would happen”. He then headed for Girona, where although he impressed he experienced relegation. He joined Manchester City and was immediately told to leave again. And he left for Valladolid, not entirely voluntarily. He loved Lisbon but he also left there and that brought him anxiety, since he was forced to wait until the last minute. Sporting manager Rúben Amorim insisted that he would only be allowed to leave if Spurs paid his release clause. Ultimately, he was loaned out with an obligation to buy for 45 million euros (40 million British pounds).

“Those last two weeks were very hard,” he says. “There is uncertainty day after day. You have to be focused on playing, but that’s not easy. I even had a cup final on the last day. But I have always been mentally strong. That is fundamental”.

Porro was 19 when Manchester City signed him and 19 when he left four days later. He arrived from Girona, City’s own club, but he assures that he has “the slightest idea” if that was what led him there: “My agent told me. He surprised me. It is one of the best clubs there is, even though I was young. It’s a place to learn.”

Not that the lessons were delivered exactly as he expected. It’s not just that Porro has never played a game there; he didn’t even get there. “nothing nothing,” he says. “I wasn’t there at all. I didn’t even train.” You didn’t talk to Pep Guardiola, to the squad? “No, no, nothing. They told my agents and we looked for (a place to go) They didn’t tell me anything directly.” Do you feel dislocated? “Not dislocated. You don’t feel important. And that’s hard. You’re there but you’re not there. I took it as a (sign that) I had to grow up, follow my own way. It wasn’t just that it’s a big club, I was small too.”

There is a pause. “When I went from City to Valladolid it was a blow to the face because I was very young,” he continues. “City wanted to sign me long-term but decided to lend me to mature in professional football because I only played for one year, at Girona. It’s hard for someone so young to leave. It all happened very quickly: the last day of the window I had to find somewhere. Sometimes where you go is not convenient for you. At Valladolid it cost me more but you learn from hard years, from experience even if you don’t play. That’s life, something else to make you stronger.”

In Lisbon, initially on another loan, Porro “found myself,” he says. There is a fondness for the club where he played alongside Marcus Edwards, a friend he describes as an “extraordinary” player, and for whom he was instrumental in the win against his current team earlier this season, an early glimpse perhaps that not all it was perfect. there. So why go? “Life is moments and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this,” he says. “Sporting had given me everything and there was no problem but I was ready to take the next step. I want to play in the best league in the world, the best players are there and it was a dream to join Spurs.

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“I am integrating as fast as I can. My English is not very good, the first weeks were a bit more difficult. Eric Dier speaks Portuguese and helped, Cuti (Cristian Romero) too. He knew words, he understood some things, but he had never been there. I understand the conversations of the team: the coach speaks English differently, like an Italian, which is easier. I’m trying to adapt as fast as I can. And it shows: in the last game I let go a little more”.

Those lines invite reflection: it is more a human process than a football one “Exactly. I have received many beatings”, says Porro. “There was the coach, I don’t remember (his name of him) now…”

It will be Tim Sherwood. After Porro’s first game, Sherwood described him as “so bad it’s unbelievable”, demanding that he be removed. “He does not do it annoy me, exactly,” Porro says, though he certainly stuck with it. “You know that people will have their opinion, they will say that you played badly, that you are not good or whatever. You try not to notice, but it’s impossible. There’s always someone who says, ‘Did you see this?’”

Pedro Porro walking outside at Spain's training camp in Las Rozas, which is 25 km from Madrid.
Pedro Porro, who plays a match for Spain, at the training camp of the national team in Las Rozas, 25 km from Madrid. Photography: Pablo Garcia

Oh yeah, sorry.

“You read what is said about a player who has been at the club for two days –two days– and he hits you because you think: ‘I just got here’”, says Porro, snapping his fingers. “I am not a machine that walks like this and that’s it, I know everyone, I’m integrated. I really hope you keep saying bad things about me that make me stronger. But it is true that he impressed me because he had been at a big and good club for a very short time… ”.

Porro shrugs, laughs, there is determination there. “Let me loose in a prison and I’ll end up owning the place. But it’s hard: it was just a week, I’ve never played a minute for City, I’ve never played for England in my life. It’s a couple of days, I start against Leicester. What do you want? For me to score five and cut 70 balls?! Anyone can have a bad day. From there, I continue: take English classes, join the group, adapt.”

If it’s any consolation, aside from this Spain call-up, of course, Sherwood wasn’t exactly a huge success at Spurs. There’s a smile in the sunlight. “To me, he doesn’t make any difference,” says Porro. Do not know him. I don’t know what had happened for him to speak. People passed it on saying that he had badmouthed me. But he won’t be the first to have to shut his mouth.”


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