Real Betis striker Ayoze Perez has insisted he sees his time at Newcastle United and Leicester City as a success, even though it took leaving to get into the Spain squad.

The striker has been talking to IDEAL ahead of Euro 2024, in which he is the surprise inclusion in Luis de la Fuente’s Spain squad.

The 30-year-old has just enjoyed a solid season with Real Betis, bagging nine goals and one assists in 31 games in La Liga and two goals and one assist in six games in the Europa League.

That’s seen him earn a surprise call-up to the Spain squad for Euro 2024 in Germany, with him recently bagging a goal on his debut in the 1-0 win over Andorra.

His rise to the national team marks something of a late blook for the striker, who had never been in contention for Spain when playing in England.

He managed 48 goals and 17 assists for Newcastle in 195 appearances and 15 goals and 12 assists in 114 games for Leicester City during spells with them both, but it is his 15 goals and 12 assists in 59 games for Betis that have seen him finally convince a Spain manager of his qualities.

Some might say, then, he had wasted his career playing in England, but he is not of that mindset in the slightest.

“It’s true, I assume it’s not normal,” he said.

“At a young age, 19 years old, I was already packing my bags, for England, for a project and for a radical change in my life. It’s not normal either. I had a career in the Premier, about nine years, five in Newcastle, three and a half in Leicester.

“A normal trajectory, very, very good, very positive years, I grew as a person, as a footballer, after so much time I returned to Spain and in a year and a half at Betis things have gone very well, months of football improvement, happiness and of many other things. And in the end, after many years of work, things arrive. The reward of playing in a European Championship.”