Athletic is currently preparing for their last home game of the season which will see them host Leganes at the San Mames. It has been a good season for Asier Garitano’s team which includes a few Lions, namely Iago Herrerin and Unai Lopez who are on loan. Due to his loan, starting keeper Herrerin will not be able to play in Sunday’s match. In an interview with Mundo Deportivo he stated that he wished he could play, but also had some curious words about his future with Athletic when his loan comes to an end this summer. The 29-year-old is expected to be the backup to Kepa Arrizabalaga next season and he isn’t happy about that.
“It will be difficult for me to not play in this game. I would be excited to play in the San Mames against Athletic. But in this case, it is Nereo who is training like an animal to be ready. If they [Athletic] are already planning on me being a backup before I have even returned, well nobody would like that. I have to go back because I have a contract there, I don’t know what will happen after that. You never know what is going to happen in football.”
Herrerin also took the time to praise Gorka Iraizoz who will be leaving Athletic after the season ends. He says that Iraizoz played a huge role in his development as a Primera keeper and that he has really enjoyed playing behind him. In closing, he hopes that Leganes can earn a point to guarantee their survival in La Liga.
“Mentally, Gorka has been a monster because he has received a lot of criticism but he never lets it affect him. I have learned a lot from him and, in the end, I’ve learned the importance of being mentally strong as a goalkeeper. I have really enjoyed learning from him. I think I have played well this year and I’m in the Primera because of him. Last game we earned a clean sheet and the points helped us achieve salvation. We still want to add another point on Sunday, just in case.”
Athletic Club has an impeccable record at the San Mames this season, losing only twice. If the Lions are able to win on Sunday, coupled with a Real Sociedad loss against Malaga, it would guarantee a top six finish and Europa League play next season. Ernesto Valverde will certainly field his strongest lineup, but will have to do so without Aymeric Laporte who will miss out due to suspension.