Jonny Otto: My journey to Wolves and why it feels like home
The Wolves full-back also discusses Celta Vigo, Atletico Madrid and working with Luis Enrique
Last Updated: 13/06/20 6:13pm
From Galicia to Wolverhampton, Jonny Otto chats to Sky Sports about his journey to the Premier League and finding a home among the Wolves...
In the summer of 2018, there was already a revolution brewing at Wolves. Nuno Espirito Santo had dazzled in his first season as manager, leading the club to automatic promotion as Sky Bet Championship winners and back into the Premier League after a six-year absence.
A wave of talent arrived in the transfer window, most unknown to English football fans and many from Nuno's home country of Portugal. Among them was Spanish full-back Jonny, who had just left his boyhood club Celta Vigo to sign for La Liga powerhouse Atletico Madrid, before immediately being sent out on a season-long loan to newly promoted Wolves.
It was a decision that would give him the chance to play in the Premier League and one which Jonny has never regretted.
"It's always difficult to leave your home, your people but it was a decision I had taken a year before [I left]. I had decided I wanted to leave Celta and get to know something more, get to know a new league," he tells Sky Sports.
"Although I had signed for Atletico, when the opportunity arose to join Wolves, I decided to take it, particularly when it was the whole idea of coming to England, which is something I really wanted to do. So it was a very easy decision to make.
"I have absolutely no regrets [about not making an appearance for Atletico]. Atletico is a great team and one of the best in the world, but I'm really happy with the decision I made. I'm very happy here and this is my home.
"When it comes to Nuno, yes I knew about him [before joining Wolves]. In fact, I once played against him when he was training Valencia and I knew how he played.
"Regarding Wolves, I didn't really know that much about them, I knew very little, I just knew that they [were promoted] to the league and that was pretty much it."
But it did not take long for Jonny to learn what it means to wear that gold and black shirt. He became a regular at left back and impressed with his performances, scoring his first Wolves and Premier League goal in a 2-0 win against Southampton in September 2018.
He made such an instant impression that just six months and six days after arriving on loan, Jonny signed a permanent four-and-a-half-year deal at Wolves and continues to play a key role.
This season, he has appeared in all but three Premier League games - two of those due to injury just before the football suspension - and played a leading role in Wolves' progress in the Europa League, where they are midway through a last-16 tie against Olympiacos.
The atmosphere at the club was a big factor in his decision to make a permanent move, with Jonny explaining: "Since the moment I arrived, I was made to feel at home. I was very welcomed by both the fans and by my team-mates so I feel very comfortable and I decided to stay.
"What I like is that we are a pack, we are a family and we treat each other like that from the dressing room to the fans, everything about the team is really good. We're a good team of very young players who want to achieve a lot and hopefully win a big title.
"It is incredible really, I think the Premier League is the best league in the whole world. I am trying to enjoy absolutely everything and do everything I can do in order to help the team. I'm trying to enjoy the situation we're in.
"I think my best moment is still yet to come. We're into the second year, we managed to get to the Europa League, it's a great satisfaction but I hope my best moment is still to come."
His stellar performances for Wolves have also earned him his first three caps for Spain's senior national team under Luis Enrique, who also coached Jonny in the 2013/14 season at Celta Vigo before joining Barcelona.
"He's a great manager and a great coach," he said of Enrique. "When you are being coached by someone, you always pick up things, you're always learning new things so you try and pick up a few tricks here and there. I hope one day, I will be able to go back there [to the Spain national team]."
Despite his own admissions that he knew little about the Wolves before joining, it is clear that Jonny has developed a great affection for the club and after leaving the familiarity of Celta Vigo, has found himself a perfect new home.