Real Madrid attacker Jese Rodriguez has described his 2012-13 season as a "dream" after Jose Mourinho handed him his first significant taste of action for the senior side.
Rodriguez had previously expressed disquiet over his lack of involvement in the first team, despite a stunning return for the Castilla side last season in which he scored 22 goals in 38 appearances.
However, Mourinho handed the starlet a place in the squad over the final few weeks of the season having previously granted him his Champions League debut against Ajax, and the 20-year-old admits it was an unforgettable experience.
“[It was] like a dream," he told Marca. "I could never have imagined something like that happening to me.
“I wasn't playing for my team and, all of a sudden, Mou calls me up and I made my debut in the Champions League, the league and the cup.”
Rodriguez admitted it was tough to return to the reserves having enjoyed his taste of senior action, but paid tribute to coach Alberto Toril for helping him to remain patient.
“It's tough to be at the top in football, playing in the Champions League or La Liga, and then go down to the reserves and struggle to get minutes," he continued. “Alberto Toril helped me a lot, because he knows that those are tough times for a player, especially being as young as I was. He calmed me down a little and made it clear my time would come.”
Rodriguez played a starring role in Spain’s U-20 World Cup campaign, notching up five strikes and one assist throughout the tournament before his side's exit at the hands of Uruguay.
Premier League outfit Tottenham has been linked with a move for the player in recent weeks.