Valencia CF vs Rayo Vallecano

Nov, 24 / 16:15 Matchday 13

Actualidad del Valencia C.F.
December, 06 2017

Paco Herrera: “One way or another, Santi Mina always gets himself a goal”

Santi's former boss had plenty of praise for him since his debut at the age of 17

Santi Mina turns 22 on Thursday, and currently he is enjoying his best run of form in a Valencia shirt. Along with Carlos Soler, he is the only player that has taken part in every game this season, and while doing that he has found the back of the net on seven occasions - his best goalscoring record as a professional.

During his birthday week, he will play against his former club Celta Vigo, where he learned his trade. He earned his LaLiga debut with them at the age of just 17, with Paco Herrera giving him his big opportunity, and Santi is eternally grateful for that. Now in charge of Sporting Gijon, Herrera is convinced that Mina will continue to prove his worth for Valencia.

You gave Santi Mina his debut in LaLiga at the age of just 17, what did you see in him?

Every week while playing for Celta’s B team, where he found himself playing despite being a very young player, he showed that he had big potential. It is difficult to put him in just a fixed position in attack, because as a right winger he would do well, on the left he does well, as a central striker he does well too. In every position he can do things, but the other factor is that one way or another he always gets himself a goal. He has a natural instinct for goals, and for me it was an easy decision to give him a LaLiga debut despite his age, then he played and did well.

Which attributes stand out to you?

He sees goals with ease, he can definitely score more than he currently is with Valencia, but that will come. For him it is easy to play high upfield, to put himself where it he can link up with the easiest pass, but always while looking to go forward. He is strong, a hard worker, he is honest on the pitch. When they did the deal, I knew that Valencia had done well.

At the start of this season, he already has seven goals to his name, and an excellent goal-per-minute ratio...

Goals are just a part of his being, but I was sure when I gave him his chance to LaLiga that he would need time. You have to adapt to things, the players and the opposition in front of you are much tougher. They read what you’re thinking and you will doubt yourself more until you hit that 100% mark. He is a player that doesn’t see the goalkeeper, but instead the goal. There are many players where when they’re in front of the ‘keeper, they see two of him, but he sees the gap he can find instead, at least in those days.

What does it mean to you held Santi Mina in such high regard now?

For me it is huge, in my job this gives me the best feeling. It comes above a lot of things, when it is someone that you saw potential in, who you have helped to achieve and turn himself into a good player. For me it is the best gift you can have.