Dean Smith managed Brentford for three years before joining Aston Villa in 2018.

In his final two seasons with the Bees, one of the players Smith managed was José Ignacio Peleteiro Ramallo, commonly known as Jota.

After Villa were promoted to the Premier League in 2019, Smith took the winger from Birmingham City and offered him a two-year contract.

The Spaniard made 14 appearances in all competitions for Aston Villa and four of them came between October 2019 and March 2020.

Jota had to go under the knife on two occasions last season and after having failed to make an impact at Villa Park, the English club terminated his contract.

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AS had an opportunity to interview the player and asked if the hernia operations caused him ‘terrible pain’, he said: “Last season the two hernias… it was a tough time because I started playing at a good level.

“Having to stop because I couldn’t take it any more and having to operate… then the coronavirus stopped me, I couldn’t have continuity. Everything happens for a reason and now I’m happy. You never know if bad is good.”

Jota had several options to pick from after being released by Smith’s side. He ended up at Eibar, against the recommendations of those close to him.

“I have followed my instincts more than what everyone thinks is logical. I still do. This year the same thing happened to me: there were other options and those around me recommended that I accept something different from what I finally chose here in Vitoria. I had a good feeling,” Jota explained.

“The one who suffers or enjoys is me and I make decisions with my family. The important thing in life is to be yourself and do what comes out of you.”

Jota has six appearances to his name in all competitions with Eibar this season.