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Villarreal historians analyze Brereton’s return to LaLiga

In January of last year, Villarreal made a real market coup in English football. The Yellow Submarine, one of the most stable institutions in Hispanic football, beat the competition of several Premier League teams and reached an agreement with the Chilean Ben Brereton.

Despite the fact that the striker had six months left on his contract with Blackburn Rovers, a team from the Championship (English second category), the Castellón team was ahead of the interested parties and signed the striker at zero cost, with the promise that he would join to the table of the Valencian Community in July 2023.

Then began a completely different chapter in the player’s career, who left his comfort zone to sign in a completely different football and competition than what he had experienced in his native United Kingdom. At 24 years old, the Stoke-on-Trent native took the big step that promised to boost his career.

However, the change was not what was expected. When the Chilean arrived at the club, coach Quique Setién directed the destinies of the first team. With the former Barcelona coach he only played 102 minutes in three official matches, before the leadership decided to leave the Cantabrian on September 5. The arrival of José Pacheta was not better news for the attacker either, who added another eight appearances (325 minutes) before the technical office fired the strategist at the end of November.

Until that moment, the Briton’s contribution had been scarce in a club that was also unable to find its way. The worst of all is that his goal did not arrive, the same one that made him famous in the Rovers team, with which he scored 46 goals in his last three seasons.

At the end of last year, with Marcelino García Toral in charge of the first team, the numbers did not improve: only 134 minutes in eight appearances, that is, less than 17 minutes for each game.

(REUTERS/Molly Darlington)

“It has been difficult for Ben Brereton, because he has had to go through three different coaches. Nobody has the potion, the key, to succeed immediately. He did not seem comfortable, attacking or defending“, warns Josico, one of the historical figures of the groguet painting.

Likewise, the former holding midfielder and current coach breaks down the balance of the Chilean striker, who could only add 568 minutes in 20 games with the team until last January. Poor numbers for a footballer who arrived as an emerging figure.

Football doesn’t wait for you and there weren’t many minutes he managed to add either. In England he has had more opportunities to feel more comfortable, he returns to his home football and it shows that he has not forgotten to score,” adds Josico.

More reflective is the opinion of former Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci. For the current TV commentator in his country and former youth coach of the yellow team, age and distance from his home conspired to prevent Brereton’s victory.

“It did not adapt to Spain. Maybe he lacked experience, because the demands are very high there. He was not doing well in LaLiga, he could not handle the pressure in a place conducive to demonstrating. If he came to Villarreal, it is because he has quality, because of what he has done in England”, he assures.

After a semester full of postponements and bad times, the player and his entourage decided to take up the offer from Sheffield United of the English Premier League. Even though the team was last in the standings (they were relegated last night), coach Chris Wilder put all his trust in the Red striker.

Since he debuted with the Sabers team on January 21, the player has achieved very good numbers amidst the mediocrity of the bottom of the English tournament. In his first 11 games, Big Ben scored five goals, including the one he celebrated at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

A harsh contrast between a competition like the Spanish league and the best tournament in Europe. Why did the player’s performance change so much from one to the other?

“At least he already knows Spanish football, he has experience of how it is played, perhaps he is more tactical than Brereton thought. In England football is more about contact, collision, longer arrivals,” explains Josico.

According to Kahveci’s opinion, the Hispanic championship is much more technical than the island one.

“In LaLiga there is more technical quality. The Premier has games with much more pace, more physical, faster football is played. Maybe that’s why he suffered. Although in England, at least in recent years, players with more possession of the ball have arrived,” he points out.

One of the main criticisms that has been made of the forward is his inability to speak Spanish. It was done by the coach of the Chilean team, Ricardo Gareca, who in one of his first press conferences showed his surprise at this impediment.

The situation that is not trivial in the career of a footballer. This is explained by Nihat Kahveci, who came to the Royal Society from a completely different culture like the Turkish one, when he was only 21 years old.

“Not knowing the language is a problem. You have to understand and make yourself understood during the game. The sooner you learn it the better. “This way he can relax more, understand what they want from him, talk more,” says the Eurasian, former pupil of Manuel Pellegrini at Villarreal.

Along the same lines, Josico declares: “The language issue can be a variable, because you must understand the coach. Maybe that’s where it got complicated for Brereton. They put him on the side and he didn’t look calm. But the language of football is universal, one can associate with a teammate just with a look or a gesture. With the coach it is more important to understand him; “With colleagues it is not so difficult, it is less complicated.”

Immediately, the footballer has to return to Villarreal after June 30. The striker has a contract at the former club of the Engineer until mid-2027. Of course he will return with several pending matters. One of them is learning to speak Spanish, in addition to being able to adapt to football that is significantly different from English.

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