July has always been a good month to Miguel Gutierrez. For starters, he was born in July - on the 27th in 2001, to be exact. July was also the month that he won the U19 European Championships with Spain this past summer. A team boasting of talents like Ferran Torres (Valencia), Ander Barrentexa (Real Sociedad), and Eric Garcia (Manchester City). Although he was not a key figure for that squad, it should be noted that Guttierrez was one of the youngest members of the team. No less than a week after winning that tournament, Miguel was asked to travel to Germany to train with Real Madrid’s first team squad. And on July 31st, just days after turning 18, the left back made his debut for Real Madrid in a preseason match vs Fenerbache in the Allianz Arena. Yes, the month of July is a good month for young Miguel Gutierrez.
In his debut match, he showed no qualms at taking the step up to the first team level. Given his attacking characteristics and overall technical quality, he is seen as a full back closer in style to Marcelo rather than a more conservative Mendy-type player. During his 30 minute cameo, he exuded those qualities, getting up the field on multiple occasions and serving a few dangerous crosses. This was to be just a quick glimpse for Madrid fans of what could await them in the future.
So where did those attacking qualities originate and how does one so young exude such comfort on the ball? At 10-years-old, in July of 2011, the young Madrileño made the move from neighboring club Getafe to the Real Madrid’s youth academy. He has featured at nearly every level of the youth categories for both Real Madrid and the Spanish national team, and has excelled in large part due to his versatility. He has been deployed as a left back, center back, center midfielder (both defensive and attacking), and as a left winger. All the different positions and different on-field football “perspectives” have given him the confidence to feel comfortable in any spot on the pitch. As he has moved through the higher levels, he now predominantly features as a left back, but still has the skill-set to move into other positions.
Real Madrid’s official website describes Guttierrez as a “multi-faceted” defender.
He’s a player that is not afraid to create his own solutions on the pitch. If pressed, he has options — he can dribble out of tight situations, play a one-two interchange and use his engine to get up the flank, or he can play the simple pass and use his intelligent off the ball movement to get into central areas in order to open up other parts of the pitch for his teammates. Like we have come to see in the modern full-back — in players like Reguilon, Achraf, and Marcelo — Miguel posses a great ability to time under-lapping runs and to play in the half-space.
“If they give him games and minutes in Madrid, he can be a top left back,” Spain U17 coach, David Gordo, told AS in an interview. “He has all the characteristics to play down the left flank for Real Madrid. He is ready to be a top flight player. He has a very good future, of that I am sure.”
Gordo was asked about Guttierrez after the youngster did the rounds in each Spanish paper last week having been one of three youth academy outfield players called up to Zidane’s first team training. Reinier Jesus, the €35 million January acquisition, was one of the other players along with center back Javi Hernandez. Miguel Guttierrez will be unfazed as he’s trained with the first team on multiple occasions. Whenever Zidane needs an additional defensive reinforcement for training, he’s quick to request Miguel join the group.
Zidane and the club have high hopes for the left back. In the past, he has attracted interest from many other top teams, including Manchester United, but Madrid were able to sign Miguel to a new contract just before the coronavirus outbreak in March. His new deal keeps him at the club until 2024 and significantly increased his buyout clause.
Those close to Miguel Guttierrez speak about his professionalism, his quality eating habits, and his positive attitude. His progression has been steady and the development plan will continue to evolve year after year. Next season, he is expected to be under the orders of Raul at Castilla. Following that season, Real Madrid will evaluate what will likely be Reguilon’s second year abroad at Sevilla or another club, and Marcelo’s season at Real Madrid. A decision will then be made regarding Miguel Guttierrez: stay another year in Castilla, go out on loan, or to be given direct promotion to the Real Madrid first team. Zidane and the club want to protect the player and give him clear steps of progression. In signing his contract renewal, Miguel placed his trust in the club. He believes in the steps laid out. The youngster made a commitment to his grandfather just before he passed away, “the dream is not to just debut, the dream is to convert into the left back for Real Madrid”.
As La Liga returns in just a couple weeks time, the fixture schedule will quickly get congested. It’s unlikely that Guttierrez plays any type of role in the final 11 match days of Real Madrid’s La Liga campaign, but given that the season trickles into the lucky month of July, who is to completely rule out a potential La Liga debut?