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Danny Rose: Pochettino wants me to play like Real Madrid’s Marcelo

Once marginalized at Spurs, Rose credits his improvement to his Sunderland loan, and Mauricio Pochettino’s guidance.

England v Russia - Group B: UEFA Euro 2016 Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Over the past couple of seasons, Danny Rose has gone from an afterthought on Tottenham’s squad to one of its key players. Rose was nearly offloaded a couple of seasons ago but revitalized his career at White Hart Lane after a season-long loan at Sunderland and the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino. Now he’s a regular in the England side under Roy Hodgson and is playing the Euros.

After England’s heartbreaking 1-1 draw against Russia in their first match of the European Championships in France, one that all five Tottenham Hotspur players on the squad including Rose started, Danny opened up about his development and improvement the past two seasons and credited both his Sunderland loan and his current Tottenham manager for his improvement.

“I’ve always said the year-long loan at Sunderland was the best thing that ever happened to me, so I owe them a hell of a lot because I went back to Spurs having proved to myself and a lot of others I could play in the Premier League. But, as daft as it sounds, I’ve never had a manager take time to work on me as a left-back and help me improve until Mauricio came to Tottenham.

“That’s no disrespect to any of the other coaches I’ve worked under, but it’s shown in the last couple of years. He’s always said he wants me to play with the same arrogance as Marcelo at Real Madrid. Every time he goes out he looks like he thinks he’s the best in the world, and Pochettino wants me to have the same attitude when I play for Spurs. That comes with confidence. Towards the end of the season I felt very confident and, once I get to that level, I start to take more risks on the ball. It’s something I enjoy.”

Since Rose’s return from Sunderland, we've seen that level of “arrogance” in the Tottenham side. Rose was able to quickly lock down the starting left back position at Tottenham ahead of Ben Davies, who was signed as his competition, and very soon after won over Spurs supporters with his ability to push the ball forward into attacking areas and feed Spurs players through crosses from the flank.

I had never really considered the comparison to Marcelo before, but it makes a lot of sense. Marcelo is rightfully considered one of, if not the, best left back in world football, primarily due to his intelligence in pushing forward with the ball and overlapping the midfielders. Marcelo has a blazing speed and a near recklessness going forward for Real Madrid that can sometimes create problems in defense, but more often leads to attacking chances.

Pochettino’s advice that he emulate the Brazilian fullback suggests that he wants Rose to play with more abandon and flair moving forward, since Poche’s system is reliant on the fullbacks to provide width on offense. Thankfully, Danny has also proven adapt at getting back quickly and has turned into a capable defender as well. There’s even a touch – just a touch – of Marcelo’s ill discipline in Rose, though thankfully Danny has more or less cut out the dumb tackles and reckless play out of his game the past couple of seasons.

Rose also noted the ironic parallel between himself and former Spurs star Gareth Bale, whose Wales team England will face next in the Euros: Bale started as a left back before moving forward into an attacking midfield role, while Rose has done exactly the opposite, starting as a winger and settling as a left back.

“[Bale and I] weren’t actually competing for the same place, either. I hadn’t joined as a left-back because I was playing more in midfield back then. It’s funny how I’ve gone back in my position and he’s gone forward. We both had to wait a while for our chance but it came. We played Real Madrid in pre-season last summer and I got to catch up with him. It was nice to see how happy he was, and how he relishes his football over there.”