It was a late afternoon in late September that sparked much discussion among fans who were already flocking to the Emirates Stadium outings.
A hallmark of Nuno Espirito Santo’s early decisions as Tottenham head coach had been his reluctance to call in Cristian Romero, who watched from the bench as an Arsenal first-half flurry set in end of the North London derby in 34 minutes.
Signed from Atalanta, Romero was considered a major blow given the interest shown by Chelsea and Manchester United, but Spurs’ signature signing from the summer transfer window was an unused substitute as Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez were struggling to cope with Arsenal’s fluid frontline.
Nuno was undoubtedly aware of the player’s technical ability to accompany his physique, but having gradually made it easier in the campaign, Romero cemented his place on the Tottenham side and will certainly be tasked with keeping Manchester United at bay on Saturday night football.
“Slowly but surely I feel more at home here,” said Romero exclusively. Air sports after starting the last three Premier League matches.
“It’s not something that would happen overnight and every change in environment requires a period of adaptation. I feel great right now and hope to be able to continue playing at this level.”
It was a start to life in England, not without obstacles.
Global restrictions resulting from the pandemic contributed to an unfortunate international break last month that forced the Argentinian to train in Croatia for a while after traveling to a Red List country.
Romero would have been disciplined for making the trip to South America against the club’s will, but that is now a thing of the past, and the center-back has certainly won the hearts of Tottenham fans with his combative approach to winning matches.
The loss to West Ham was a blow, but the 23-year-old came out with a lot of credit, and he added to his growing reputation with another standout performance as Spurs reached the Cup quarter-finals. Carabao with a win at Burnley on Wednesday night.
Romero repeatedly advanced in possession in an impressive one-on-one display at the London Stadium in which he regained possession (8) and made more interceptions (5) than any other teammate.
His efforts were somewhat unfairly overshadowed by an incident involving Pablo Fornals which earned him a yellow card for an unnecessary altercation on the sideline as tensions boiled over.
ð£ “No need for that, it was there”
It started earlier when Romero tackled Fornals and left him on the deckâ¦ then told him to get upâ¦
Fornals didn’t like it at all and jumped up before a lot of players on both sides crammed in ð
– Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) 24 October 2021
“Unfortunately, it happened with Pablo,” Romero adds, admitting to having exceeded the milestone. âI’ve met him once when we were at an airport and he’s a great guy.
“What happened the other day was not his fault and I reacted badly. It’s the kind of thing that happens in the heat of the moment. You do everything to fight for your team, but he’s a good guy. “
Romero is the type to burn himself out fixing what broke for the fourth time in London derbies this season.
Introduced as a replacement for Toby Alderweireld, the numbers claim he can emulate the Belgian as a mainstay of Tottenham’s defense at the start of a new cycle at the club.
At Â£ 47million he is Spurs’ second signing after Tanguy Ndombele, but Romero wasted no time adjusting to the rigors of the Premier League – aided by the club’s Spanish-speaking contingent.
“Gio [Lo Celso] helped me settle in and I love having him as a teammate for club and country, “he says.” He’s a very good friend and it clearly helps to have people like him here then. that we play together for Argentina.
“But he didn’t influence my decision to join. It was entirely my decision to come to Tottenham because they are a great club playing in the best league in the world.”
“Messi is a god of football”
It was with Argentina that Romero collected the first piece of silverware of his career in July as Argentina won their first Copa America title since 1993.
Voted best Serie A defender in the 2020/21 season at Atalanta, Romero carried his excellent form until the summer as he was named to the tournament squad.
It was a big climb. Born in Cordoba, the defender only moved to Italy at the age of 20 in July 2018 after playing just 19 times for Argentina’s Primera Division Belgrano side.
He didn’t make his senior debut for Argentina until June, but the Albiceleste are still to lose during the eight occasions on which Lionel Scaloni called on his services.
Ending a 28-year drought for trophies was all the more satisfying as it came at the expense of Brazil inside the MaracanÃ£, with Lionel Messi’s international career finally being its crowning achievement.
âWinning trophies with my country is the pinnacle and winning the Copa America last summer has been the highlight of my career so far,â Romero adds. âI love playing for my country and playing with Messi is a real joy.
“I only know him as a player, but he’s a football god. It’s a real privilege to have him as a teammate and a compatriot. He always helps the young players in the squad when we meet in camps and he’s a very modest and humble guy.
“For me he’s the best player in the world so it’s always fun to be able to play alongside him.”
Romero and Spurs in search of consistency
Romero signed a five-year contract when he arrived at Tottenham and he is committed to following the skin of previous Argentines who graced this famous club, where Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa were part of a glorious era in the early 1980s. . at White Hart Lane.
But the current squad has been plagued by an inconsistency that has often manifested itself even within matches, so much so that after this issue was raised with Romero his initial response is, “Do you mean the first one? half of the season versus the second or the games themselves? “
Wolves were seen as a second-half team under Nuno, but there appears to have been a reversal of those numbers at Tottenham early in his tenure – something Romero is unable to put his finger on.
âThe game against West Ham was a bit peculiar because we had practically all the ball in the second half but we couldn’t create chances and then we conceded a soft goal. They really didn’t do anything to recover the three points.
“We created chances in the first half but couldn’t convert them which complicated things but we are already working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Nuno has lost four of his first nine Premier League appearances as Spurs boss – the only manager to have lost more than four of his first 10 Premier League appearances at the head of Tottenham was Christian Gross in 1997/98, who lost five.
Romero will be hoping to be part of a Spurs squad that ensures that unwanted record is not matched this weekend against Manchester United, live on Sky Sports.
âOf course after every loss you feel bitter, but we are already looking to the future,â he continues. âThe group remains strong and united in what we are trying to accomplish and we are already focused on responding to the setback.
âSince my work under Nuno, I have already learned that he is a very calm manager. He brings a lot of calm to the dressing room as we have only had a little time to work together as a group.
âYou don’t really need to panic considering we’re in the top six positions in the league and it’s very tight from fourth on positive momentum.
“We will prepare for Manchester United in the best possible way to win in front of our supporters. I have come here to compete for the trophies and to play in the Champions League and this is the level that I think we should all aspire to achieve. To achieve this goal, we must stand united.
“Romero already hailed as the savior of Argentina”
South American football expert Tim Vickery:
“The center-back has been a real problem for Argentina for years and since the start of June, when he first played, Cristian Romero has been greeted as the savior. Even with just eight caps he is now the number one defender on the team’s scoresheet for Argentina.
“He had a few injuries in the Copa America and only played three games, but Argentina haven’t conceded in those three games and have had a splendid season at Atalanta, which are an attacking club. Their defense was often exposed but it did very well.
“He’s combative – sometimes a little too combative – he’s 23, so there’s a lot of football ahead of him. Tottenham may be paying a bit too much for him, but there’s a lot to love about him. is a real fighter. “
How to follow Tottenham vs Man Utd
Tottenham vs Man Utd is live Sky Sports Premier League starting at 17h ; kick off at 5.30 p.m. Air sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Air sports website and app.
Highlights will also be posted on the Air sports digital platforms and Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.