EMERSON ROYAL has been doing everything he can to adapt to the lung-busting demands Antonio Conte puts on his wing-backs.
It has seen the Brazilian and his managerial team, led by his dad Emerson Zulu, spend £800,000 on goods and services to improve his performance.
Emerson is sparing no expense to make sure he is a regular first pick at TottenhamCredit: Getty
That includes buying a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, to put the defender in better condition for those hellish runs up and down the pitch.
A personal scouting report of Achraf Hakimi was commissioned so Royal could study the game of the Paris Saint-Germain star, who shone under Conte as a wing-back at Inter Milan.
While he has even been working with a neuroscientist to help cope with the psychological pressures of being an elite athlete.
Royal, who is naturally a right-back rather than wing-back, joined Spurs from Barcelona in August 2021 for 25.8million.
The 23-year-old has copped flak from some Spurs supporters who want more from his end product in the attacking third of the pitch.
Those grumbles have been valid at times but one thing Royal can never be criticised for is his dedication to honing his craft.
That work ethic goes some way to explaining why Conte, a performance obsessive, has relied so heavily on him.
Royal came on as a substitute in the 6-2 thrashing of Leicester just before the international break but prior to that fixture, he had started the last 18 games on the trot.
And there is a strong possibility he will return to the starting line-up for the mouth-watering North London derby at arch-rivals Arsenal tomorrow lunchtime (SAT).
Conte likes Royal’s defensive capabilities but the Sao Paulo lad knew he must improve both physically and technically going forward to flourish in the Italian’s system.
He has been doing lots of extra work outside of Spurs training to boost his fitness, with much centering around recovery.
That has seen the ex-Real Betis loanee invest in a Vitaeris 320 hyperbaric chamber, which looks a bit like a bed and helps the user receive more oxygen to heal quicker.
Royal’s father was the one who hired a scout to do a write-up on Hakimi, whose success from transforming himself under Conte at Inter into an excellent wing-back was seen as an example from which to learn.
Dr Fabiano de Abreu Agrela, a neuroscientist and human behaviour specialist, has been brought on board and credited by others close to Royal for helping him focus more and worry less.
The Portuguese, with Brazilian citizenship, who also works with Chilean international and former QPR loanee Eduardo Vargas, was asked by SunSport how much Royal has bought into his methods.
Dr De Abreu replied: “Totally, he trusts and bets on it from the beginning.
“He is willing to do what it takes to give and be at his best.
“It’s not easy for a player to leave a type of culture and expectations and go to the fastest and most demanding league on the planet. This adaptation plays with the mind.”
Conte hailed Royal for being “totally involved in every game” when speaking about the Brazilian earlier this month, and said he had made a “good improvement” from last season.
The Brazilian may come across as a jokey character on social media, but his investment in his game suggests he is deeply serious about making his spell at Spurs an undisputed success.