Rushine De Reuck says Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler’s first impression of him was that the young centreback was “a bit lazy”.
The 24-year-old has come a long way since those days then, managing to feature in every single Absa Premiership match this season to help the Team of Choice aim for a club record points tally and a possible top three finish.
“Coach Eric has helped me quite a lot and when he came to Maritzburg he told me that the talent is there and that I am one of the best players he has seen, but he needs me to work really hard. He felt like I was a bit lazy,” De Reuck told journalists.
“And that’s what I did. I studied the game a bit more and you can see now this season that I don’t even have a lot of yellow cards – just one in 24 games. I have bettered my positional play with the way I read the game and see things. I study players and I know what to do in certain areas. I know my strengths: one versus one, tackles and (being) good in the air, things like that. So he (Tinkler) has helped me a lot, what I must do when I have the ball and that has improved my game quite a lot.”
De Reuck likened his current coach to his previous manager during his short stint in Europe at Pacos de Ferreira B team in Portugal nearly five years ago.
“I worked under coach Paulo Fonseca for six months and this guys was unbelievable – we used to spend maybe two hours just on set pieces and throw-ins. And I was always wondering how we can spend two hours just on that,” he explained.
“Obviously we didn’t have the most technical players, but we were very disciplined – and coach Eric also has that. I feel like that has helped me a lot, with my technical awareness and where to be. Paulo Fonseca drilled that into me, and if he didn’t move to Braga I think I would still be in Portugal, that’s for sure. I learnt a lot there, how to become a modern centre back.”
Story by @superjourno