Bryan Gil was one of three Tottenham first team players who made the loan move abroad during the January transfer window.
Gil moved back to Spain, to play for Valencia until the end of the season, whilst Giovani Lo Celso is playing for Villarreal and Tanguy Ndombele returned to Lyon.
The winger made the move to Spurs in last summer’s transfer window, in a swap deal involving Erik Lamela, so it was a shock to some that six months later he was leaving N17.
The Spaniard made 20 appearances for the Lilywhites before he left in January and has already made four La Liga appearances, starting three and registering an assist.
After the closing of the January transfer window, Antonio Conte gave his verdict on the players who were sent out on loan.
“About the players that went on loan, they need to play more games,” he admitted. “I think it was right for both sides, the club and the players. These players needed to play more games.”
The 21-year-old has now spoken about the move back to his home country.
“I came to Valencia to be able to fight to play matches like this,” Gil explained to AS, via Sport Witness. “For me, winning a title at my age would be a dream and I knew that Valencia was in the fight to reach the final.
“At Tottenham I wasn’t playing the minutes that every player wants and here they told me that if I earned them, I would have them.”
There is no denying the physicality that the Premier League requires and even more so under a manager like Conte, who is known for his regimented managerial methods.
“In the Premier League, training sessions are very physical, very hard, and it has helped me not to notice fatigue now,” the Spaniard admitted.
“It is [physicality] very noticeable, really. It is a slightly higher level of intensity. I physically noticed it.
“The adaptation for me was difficult. It is a very physical football, back and forth. Being there has been good for me. I am more mature,” Gil added.
When the 21-year-old arrived in north London, he explained that he had been asked to gain some weight and improve his physical condition.
When he was given the chance of some game time under Conte, he showed glimpses of his potential and always brought extra energy on the pitch.
However it was still noticeable that Gil didn’t quite have the strength required and would often be shoved off the ball by opponents.
The youngster did admit he was working to make positive changes to his physicality.
“I changed habits like eating, I had a chef at home and I gained two kilos,” Gil said. “Even so, I noticed that it was not enough for the physical level that exists in the Premier League.”
Who are the teams you love to hate? Which teams do you have a soft spot for? Take part in our League of Love & Hate survey
Gil’s loan is only until the end of the season but his responses seemed to indicate an uncertain future for the Spaniard, in the capital.
“At Valencia, I continue to work hard on endurance, physicality, in case I have to come back, to be prepared,” he said.
“I belong to Tottenham and they are the ones who have to decide. It’s not up to me. That will depend on the clubs [Gil staying at Valencia beyond this season].”
There will be some questions as to whether the Spaniard will return to the capital during the summer or continue to develop his career elsewhere.
If he does return to Hotspur Way, his physicality could still be a concern.
The 21-year-old explained that he had been working on it and had gained some weight but going back to playing Spanish football is likely to halt this physical development.
This will mean a return to England will require more time for Gil to continue settling into a still new(ish) league and develop the physicality required for the Premier League.
This could become a concern for Spurs who will need players who can slot into Conte’s regular XI and improve the quality of the squad.
For now, the Spaniard will be focused on thriving at his new club and it will be a waiting game to see what the future holds for the young prospect.