By George Overhill

6th Oct, 2023 | 2:40pm

Marc Roca reveals Leeds United teammates encouragement for loan exit as he shares his 'love' for Victor Orta

Marc Roca says that he received “encouragement” from Leeds United teammates Junior Firpo and Joel Robles to make the switch to Real Betis this summer.

The on-loan midfielder told MARCA on 5 October that he is “very comfortable” and “very happy” back in La Liga, and had been assured by his two former Elland Road colleagues that he would enjoy his time in Seville.

Roca is now on the other side of the city rivalry from former Whites sporting director Victor Orta who returned to Sevilla after his own departure a matter of weeks before the former Bayern player, but still says “I love him very much” for giving him the chance in West Yorkshire.

Roca said of Orta: “Yes, I haven’t spoken to him in a few days, but when we came, we were talking. I have a very, very special appreciation for Víctor. In the end he trusted me in a moment that was a little complicated, I hadn’t participated much for two years and he opened the doors for me.

“He trusted me a lot and I have a very, very good personal relationship with him. I think he is a spectacular sports director. On a personal level he already knows what I think of him, I love him very much. “He is a person that I respect very much.”

And on advice to leave he added: “I spoke with Junior and Joel, who were with me at Leeds. They told me not to think about it, that I would be very comfortable.

“They told me about the coach, the coaching staff, the locker room, the city, everything. In the end it is a plus that people very close to you give you this encouragement, these advice and the truth is that, just as they told me, I am feeling it now and I am finding it here in Seville.”


In fairness to Roca he is being pretty diplomatic about the situation now and while it seems pretty clear he has no plans to return to Leeds United he is stopping short of saying so.

It would likely suit the club just as well as the 26-year-old if he turns his loan move into a permanent one for a suitable fee next summer, and after having just got a call up to the Spain squad it is looking positive in that regard.

His improvement since returning to his home country certainly suggests his game suits the style of play in La Liga more than it did in the Premier League, so with the midfield now restocked at Elland Road it likely suits all parties for a deal to be done at the end of the season.

Unlike some of those who departed for the Bundesliga on loan this summer it does at least appear that Roca is making the most of the situation, and leaves the Whites in line to benefit from the hoped-for increase in value that Angus Kinnear explained to The Square Ball on 7 September.

Roca didn’t have anything bad to say about his time in England despite how last season went, although his appreciation of Orta for bringing about the move is likely not shared by the supporters thanks to the chaos his decisions at manager and in the transfer market ultimately led to.

While his departure contributed to an emergency shortage of midfielders earlier this year, Ethan Ampadu, Archie Gray, Glen Kamara and Ilia Gruev have now restocked the area under Daniel Farke so the team has moved on.

In other Leeds United news, Tim Sherwood raved about the Whites fans live on Sky Sports this week as he hailed “one of my favourite” places to go.