THE BIG INTERVIEW: Jefferson Montero

19th October 2015

From a little rural house in La Carolina - a small town just outside Babahoyo, a couple of hours from Ecuador's coast - Jefferson Montero's journey to becoming one of the most feared wingers in English football is the stuff of which fairy tales are made.
As is with the case with many South American players, Montero's story has its roots in poverty.
He first began playing football in a pair of canvas sandals on the streets of his "barrio" - the Spanish term for neighbourhood - while his parents worked tirelessly to provide for him and his two siblings.
Away from football, he openly admits that he is "quite shy" - a family man that prefers to keep himself to himself.
On the pitch, however, everything changes - as a number of unfortunate Premier League full-backs will attest to. 
"You have the Jefferson - the husband and the dad off the field - and you have the Jefferson - the footballer on the field," explains Montero, who speaks to Jack Magazine via a translator at the Liberty Stadium.
"Away from football, I always want to be with my family, but when I am on the pitch, I change completely.
"With all due respect to my colleagues in football, I always want to beat them and go past them.
"I get angry because it's not always a one-on-one. Sometimes more defenders mark me and it becomes two-on-one or three-on-one, which can be frustrating."
The likes of Branislav Ivanovic, Daryl Janmaat and Calum Chambers - to name just a few top-flight full-backs that have left the pitch with their heads spinning - may argue that an afternoon against an in-form Montero is equally wearisome.
Montero's style of play is simple yet so immensely difficult to stop. Inside or outside, he jinks one way and then the other before poking the ball in front of him and accelerating away from his marker - leaving them chasing his shadow. 
As his manager and several of his teammates and pundits alike have commented in recent weeks: on his day, he is unplayable.
"I will always play the way that I played in my barrio back home in Ecuador," adds the speedy winger, nicknamed "Turbina" by a journalist in his homeland due to his searing pace.
"When I go home I play the same with my brothers (as Montero frequently refers to his friends). I am so competitive that I don't want to miss a match."
With a glance at the freshly cut Liberty pitch, he continues: "The pitch is different, but I just like to play and have fun. I will always try my best no matter where I am playing because I don't want anyone to beat me.
"I always want to pit my skills against the best teams and players in the world because it shows me what I can do - it's like a marker.
"But I treat every opponent the same. I always have the same respect for the opposition, no matter who I am playing against."

During Jack Magazine's insightful interview with Montero, the topic of his homeland resurfaces on a number of occasions.
The Ecuador international clearly has a wonderful affinity with the place he grew up and the people who he grew up with.
He insists that, whenever he goes home, he still hangs out on the streets with his friends and enjoys the same things as before, despite his life changing beyond recognition in recent years.
"It is a special place," Montero admits, his eyes lighting up at the mention of his hometown La Carolina. "It is a place where I am surrounded by my family and friends. I feel safe there.
"The people there have watched me grow up and have known me since I was a child, before I became a footballer.
"They know that I haven't changed a bit, even though I am a professional player now."
Indeed, the cheerful and infectious wide man also feels he owes a lot to his parents. His father worked on a banana plantation, while his mother took care of the three children of the Montero family.
"I worked there too for a little while, but I was very lazy, so I used to leave him there working alone," smiles Montero mischievously, referring to his dad's work in Ecuador.
"I have amazing parents, who gave absolutely everything for my siblings and I.
"They sacrificed a lot to make sure we had the best of everything, while my older brother also worked hard to provide for us too.
"They are the ones that deserve the most satisfaction from what is happening now. They deserve to enjoy my success.
"When you are a child, you always have these big dreams and ambitions to be able to buy your parents whatever and be able to give the best to them, so I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to buy them a house.
"They gave everything they had for me, so this is my way of trying to repay them."
Montero has gone the extra mile to repay his loved ones back home. Aside from building his parents a house, he pays for hundreds of children in La Carolina to be given games and food at Christmas and on Children's Day - a national holiday in Ecuador celebrated on June 1.
"I like to help local children in La Carolina a lot because I was one of them," Montero explains. "I can identify with them and have a lot of empathy with them.
"Along with my mother, for the past seven or eight years I have been paying for games and presents on Children's Day and also at Christmas time.
"There are children back home in Ecuador who wouldn't get anything on these special days otherwise.
"It happened to me once. It was at Christmas or on Children's Day when I didn't have a gift, so I've had that experience of being a child who didn't have anything. I don't want that for any child.
"I am really happy and proud to be able to do this for the people who watched me grow up. They watch me on TV every weekend, so it's nice to be able to give something back to them."
As much as Montero loves and feels an unbreakable link with his hometown, the 26-year-old admits he and his family feel very settled in Swansea.
"I like the city of Swansea very much," he insists. "It's very quiet here and the people are very respectful. I love the lifestyle.
"I'm definitely not going to say I like the weather - the heat is what I miss most about Ecuador - but I am very, very happy to be playing for Swansea in the Premier League. 
"Everybody knows how popular the Premier League is around the world and how much attention it gets.
"It is a privilege to play here and I was welcomed with open arms when I first arrived."
When Montero is in full flight down the left flank, the privilege is all ours. But perhaps his opposing full-back will disagree.