Pérez revisits his roots
Written by Tom Easterby
While many footballers use international breaks to recharge their batteries and prepare for the return to Premier League action, Ayoze Pérez jetted out to Tenerife last week to help some local youngsters hone their skills.
Pérez – who was born in Tenerife – began his career at the Estadio Helidoro Rodriguez Lopez on the island, and last week he returned to his birthplace to pass on his experience to a group of children in the shadow of the stadium he starred at before his move to Tyneside.
“I went there to the camp to spend some time with the kids. It was a lovely morning, we enjoyed it a lot. It was a really good time, being back home and spending a whole morning with the youngsters. It was a pleasure to be there, and to be part of the event,” Pérez told nufc.co.uk.
“It’s just coaching, with some staff, doing the training with the kids, and to speak a bit with them. The most important thing is for them to have fun and play football. I’ve done it before, last year, so this was the second time, as we wanted to do it again after the first one. It was a great experience. You can also learn from these kind of things.
“You see a lot of people enjoying their time with me, and I was like them years ago – I remember when I used to have idols, and it’s important. I have a lot of memories from when I was younger, and I’m happy to make them happy now.
“I was exactly like them, having that dream to become a player. You realise and you see in them those kind of things, which you can’t even explain – it’s something special, and that’s why we’re doing those kind of things.”
The 24-year-old returned to United’s Benton training base on Tuesday, ahead of this weekend’s trip to Southampton.
And the Spaniard said that, aided by the confidence manager Rafa Benítez has instilled in him, he is enjoying playing his part in the Magpies’ strong start to the Premier League season.
“I’m really happy to be able to have been involved with the team so much. The gaffer has given me a lot of confidence and that’s been really important for me,” explained Pérez.
“I think every player needs it, but maybe I think I needed it specifically, a little bit more. It makes me feel more comfortable on the pitch and the ball. It’s been massive for me, really important, and now I have to look after that confidence and give it back to the gaffer as well.
“I’m feeling good on the pitch, and trying to help the team as much as I can. I’m happy to be part of it, and thinking about working hard and getting good results.
“Apart from the two defeats at the beginning, it’s been a great start to the season. We have won a couple of games, which is important, and we are in a good position in the table.
“But the main thing is the football the team is playing, with confidence, and the gaffer is also doing a great job. That combination is really important. We have to carry on doing the same, and playing the same football.”
Newcastle make the long journey south to face Saints at St. Mary’s on Sunday (4pm kick-off), having not won an away game against Southampton since 2004.
But Pérez feels that United are well prepared to end that run on the south coast, having had a fortnight’s break from Premier League action.
“It feels strange – I haven’t won in that stadium. But this can be a good game to break that and get the three points,” he said.
“It’s been a great month before the international break. It helps, this kind of break sometimes, to rest and to come back as fit as possible. As soon as you’re back in Newcastle you start thinking about your job and the work you have to do, and trying to get ready for the challenge.
“Sometimes to be able to see the family, spend some time at your natural home, it makes you feel better and able to come back happy and ready for whatever is coming up.”
"I'm really happy to be able to have been involved with the team so much. The gaffer has given me a lot of confidence and that's been really important for me."