Former Real Madrid Castilla coach Alberto Toril says emerging Blancos attacker Jese Rodriguez is on course to be a world-class player.
• Rigg: Momentum with Madrid
Jese shone for Toril’s Castilla as they won promotion from Spain’s third tier and then impressed in the Segunda Division last term, leading to the 20-year-old’s promotion to the first team in the summer along with Alvaro Morata, Nacho Fernandez and Casemiro.
Toril, who was sacked in November as the side struggled without last year's key players, told AS that Jese was not the Cristiano Ronaldo clone some hoped for but still had the ability to make a huge impression at the highest level.
“Jese is going to explode very soon,” Toril said. “The day is coming when all the Bernabeu will stand to applaud him. His position is as a false nine. Fans see him as like Cristiano, but Cristiano thrives in space with his long runs -- Jese is more a player of the last 20 metres. For me, he is capable of settling at Madrid. When he is 25 or 26, he will be one of the best players in the world.”
Toril suggested Jese is dealing better than Morata with the limited substitute appearances they are getting from Madrid first-team coach Carlo Ancelotti.
“[Jese] was born to be at Madrid,” he said. “What he is doing at the moment is not easy, play 10 or 15 minutes and always make an impact. Morata is a great player, but he is finding it more difficult.”
Toril added that right-back Dani Carvajal, who left Castilla to spend last season at Bayer Leverkusen before returning to the first team last summer, and Brazilian midfielder Casemiro were both gems.
“Carvajal will be at Madrid for 10 years -- with that I say everything,” he said. “Casemiro is a specialist. You watch him train and you do not like him so much, but in the games it is different. He is a match player, very competitive.”
After three years working impressively in the shadows at the club, Toril came to wider prominence last season when then first-team boss Jose Mourinho publicly criticised his focus on results over developing players. The former Madrid midfielder said he personally had always done what was best for his club.
“[Mourinho] is a person of extremes -- you are either his friend or his enemy,” Toril said. “And I am a club man. I do things for the good of the club. I had no clash with him, although in some moments it went badly for me, because I was always a coach in La Segunda and I was put in very difficult situations. It was a learning experience for me.”
He added: “Looking at it now I probably should have left last summer, but I am an emotional coach. I am committed to the kids and the club. I felt that the club backed me, from the president down. I had a lot of offers to leave, and the club knew that. But I have no grudges against Madrid, and wish the best for Castilla.”
The highly rated tactician suggested he might like to work next in England.
“I will probably go to London for a few months now, to learn the language, in case maybe in the summer there are some opportunities abroad,” he said. “I’ll also be going to learn other methods and spend some time outside Spain.”