“I did my first year, went to a college and was playing at it,” said Rodgers, pictured. “After a year I sat and thought I wasn’t doing enough. Then the big turning point was when I went to one-to-one lessons. One of the tutors we used for our academy players – they went to Reading college – a guy called Julio Delgado. He was Jamie’s father, the famous tennis player. Julio was from Madrid and we struck it off in the first lesson.
“I ended up having two lessons a week with him then when I left from there I went to Chelsea and continued my studies.
“I always loved and respected people who could just talk and just flip into another language. People will tell you you have to be in a country to learn a language and of course that helps. But I realised you don’t. In learning French at the moment I see that the correlation between that and Spanish is very close.
“A lot of players are surprised [I speak Spanish] because normally us British people are a bit insular that way. Young Maryan [Shved], the player we signed from Ukraine, was a great example of what language can do. He didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak Ukrainian, but we could speak Spanish because he had two years at Sevilla.
“If I could do two things in the world I’d speak every language and I would play every musical instrument. Why? It’s the ability to communicate. As you grow older you understand communication is so important. My Spanish is not perfect but when I set out it was to be able to coach in the language and to be able to speak and greet.
“I always think if you speak to someone in their second language you speak to their head. If you speak in their first you speak to their heart. I’ve always try to let players see I can try to communicate.”