The 20-year-old Spanish centre-back has initially joined the Club on a year-long loan deal and will go straight into the development squad for tomorrow’s U23s match on the Oakwell pitch against Hull City.
Speaking to Barnsley Player HD, Julio stated his reasons behind joining Barnsley.
“It’s an honour for me to join a Club like Barnsley, and to be able to be part of a Club that’s so welcoming and friendly. I want to do all I can for the team and to improve as a player.”
Julio then described what he is like as a player and told of how he was a big admirer of the English game.
“I’m a tall central defender with decent pace considering my height and I try to distribute the ball well and be strong in the air.
“This is a fantastic experience and the kind of football that I really love. I watch a lot of it on television and I am really proud to be able to play a part here, and do well.”
During his time in Spain with Sporting Gijon, Rodriguez played against one his new Reds teammates in the form of Elliot Kebbie. Julio was delighted to see a recognisable face and spoke of the help he will give him to settle in the area.
“Today was my first day and he’s been a real help.” He stated. “I played against him when I was in the Sporting B team and he was in the Atletico (Madrid) B team. It’s really good to meet up with a player that you’ve played against before, and even better to be in the same team. He’s a real help to me and to have someone in the team who speaks some Spanish will be a real help.”
Following a change of lifestyle as well as football club, Julio spoke of how Barnsley has similarities to where he has grown up and spent the majority of his life. Despite moving thousands of miles, Barnsley has a bit more of a homely feel for Julio than people may expect.
“I know this is a Club that’s really close to the community and that it’s a traditional mining community, and paradoxically the town where I grew up is also a mining town, so there we go! To have left one mining town and end up in another one is great. I was told it’s a very friendly and family orientated Club that’s very united and that the Club success is built on foundations of the fans and to me this is interesting because the culture at Sporting Gijon is very similar. The bond between a team and its fans is fundamental and the key to success.”
Following his progression through the youth-ranks of the Spanish National Team, Julio feels he will be able to adapt to the English way of football as well as bringing his natural game to the side.
“I think it’s complimentary, the two will go together as I will have to learn about the English game but at the same time I will stick true to the essence of what makes me the player I am. English football is the type of football I really like, I like it a lot more than Spanish football and that’s why I didn’t hesitate to come to Barnsley. It’s the kind of football I will love to play.”
Before Julio made the decision to move to England, he had the help of two former teammates who now play in the Premier League.
“I know Bernado Espinosa at Middlesbrough and Luis Hernández at Leicester. They were at Sporting Gijon last year, they are two centre-backs who are now in England so I talked to them and they said it would be a wonderful experience for me that I should take advantage of, that I would really enjoy it. “They called me and said it would be great to have me here in England, I can meet up with them and see them.”
Julio’s English is limited, but he is taking up lessons immediately and has some much needed help at his side in the meantime!
“The quicker we can adapt to the British way of life the better. I am lucky to be helped by my girlfriend who speaks English and she is helping me out with everything at first, but I am hoping to learn English as quickly as possible and enjoy the experience.”
You can watch Julio's full and exclusive interview on Barnsley Player HD, with the help of subtitles and an interpreter.