Confident and engaged full-back makes noise at Tottenham

Confident, strong, committed. That’s Reguilón for you, and it’s the personality behind the player who has become one of the most exciting full-backs in European football in recent seasons. Reguilón’s arrival from Real Madrid this summer was overshadowed by the signing of Gareth Bale at the same time, but he has since offered much more than his most illustrious teammate.

Left-back with remarkable speed and endurance, Reguilón brings a different dynamic to José Mourinho’s team. Of his Tottenham team-mates, only Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have recorded more Premier League assists this season, with Reguilón’s latest coming in their outright victory over Burnley last weekend.

Following an injury in January, Reguilón missed five league games. It’s no coincidence that Tottenham have lost four, and it’s also no surprise that their attacking game has gone up a notch since the 24-year-old returned. They’ve run out of energy and their attacking enthusiasm will be needed again when they face Fulham on Thursday night.

“He comes from a very technical football culture,” Mourinho said. “He was born and raised in a winning club where, since you were a child, you were educated in this direction. He goes forward, he is fast, he is creative, he assists.

Alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Reguilón brought more advantage to a team which had been accused last year of being “too nice” by Mourinho. Reguilón isn’t afraid to stand up for himself and his team, and he’s certainly not a shrinking purple. This was evident when he played against Barcelona in 2019 and threw a barrage of insults at Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi.

According to Spanish reports (and lip readers), Reguilón told Suárez he was “ugly” and compared him to a “rabbit”. He then turned on Messi, calling him a “chip”. Reguilón later said he was “really excited” because of the tension in the game. Whatever the reason, it was another demonstration of his lack of fear.

They saw that same self-confidence in Logroñés, in the Spanish Third Division, where Reguilón spent the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons on loan. He had been with Madrid since the age of eight, climbing the ranks, and the move to Logroñés was his first experience in senior football.

“Mentally it suited him very well,” said Sergio Rodríguez, Reguilón’s coach at Logroñés. “Being with us helped him assess where was coming from. Madrid are one of the best clubs in the world and they came here where there are so many differences in the facilities and in the league. It helped him fight hard to continue being in the top flight.

Reguilón was only 18 when he first arrived at Logroñés but, as with Tottenham this season, he was quick to embrace his surroundings. His former teammates described him as unnaturally confident – he would respond to their mickey grab by promising to send them tickets when he played in the Champions League.

“A very sociable boy”, says Rodríguez Sport Telegraph. “A wild card that generates a good atmosphere. He was always in a good mood, always in the middle of jokes. He’s a very cheerful guy, who takes things in the best possible way. At the club, we have a lot of affection for him. Even after his return to Madrid, he would come to visit us.

However, Reguilón’s teammates didn’t always react well to his boisterous approach. In 2018, he had a brief break with Real Madrid’s undisputed king Sergio Ramos after catching him with an elbow in training. In response, Ramos smashed the ball twice on the young upstart. Ramos later apologized.

And then there was his episode with the “Portuguese Piglet” that Mourinho bought him for Christmas, having been informed that Reguilón would be alone. Instead of, he broke coronavirus regulations by attending a party with Erik Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso.

“I gave him an incredible gift,” Mourinho said. “A Portuguese piglet. I was told he would spend Christmas on his own. He was not alone, as you can see.

Off the pitch, Reguilón has won the hearts of Tottenham fans with his carefree social media approach. When the Tottenham players were playing cricket in the gym, he posted a video and just said, “I don’t understand.”

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