Kepa: It Has Been A Great Year For Me, But I Hope The Best Is Yet To Come
Kepa Arrizabalaga is currently on international duty with the Spain National Team after a fantastic first season in the Athletic Club senior squad. The 22-year-old is one of the best young keepers in Europe and it is no surprise that Julen Lopetegui has called him up for the summer. On Tuesday, the Lezama product gave an interview with Edu Polo of Mundo Deportivo and discussed just how excited he is to be with the main squad.
“I am so happy to be here. My previous call was because someone else got injured and you never like that to happen. Now I have been called up directly and I’m happy to be with the senior squad, to be able to help the team and be a part of the Selection. The atmosphere is very good. The workouts, the training, the rhythm…everything is at a high level. There are players who have been here for many years and you can see it. The newer players are adapting little by little.”
Kepa was then asked about the coaches that he has trained under – Julen Lopetegui, Ernesto Valverde, and Kuko Ziganda. The keeper was quick to admit that all are different but the three also have similarities as well. He personally believes that Ziganda’s understanding of Athletic will help him be very successful.
“Every coach is different. I was already playing under Julen with the U21, U20, and U19 teams. I already knew him well and he is a great coach. I have the privilege to train under great coaches like Julen and Ernesto Valverde, who has very clear ideas and transmits them well. Now I will train again under Kuko Ziganda. Many of us in the first team had him at Bilbao Athletic. Kuko has a lot of similarities with Ernesto and he’s been at the club for many years. He knows the club and the players very well. He is sure to be a great fit for us and I think we will have a lot of success.”
In the end, Kepa is enjoying the end to a very fruitful year, but he hopes that there is a lot more to come down the road. For now he is focused on his international duties, but he also has an eye on Athletic’s upcoming Europa League qualifiers that will begin in late July. He’s looking forward to the challenge and excited about his second year at the San Mames.
“It has been a great year for me, but I hope the best is yet to come. I am very happy about this year has gone because I was able to play for Athletic and come to the National Team. I’m very happy and looking forward to enjoying more and getting even better. Now I must take it step by step. First I will have two games with the senior team then the very exciting EUROs with the U21. From there, it will be a new season under Kuko and we have a great squad who will be trying to advance into the Europa League group stages. We are facing another exciting year and we will try to finish as high in the table as possible.”
Kepa Arrizabalaga will be a part of Spain’s squad for the next two matches before returning to the U21 team to compete in their EURO group stage. He is scheduled to be on international duty for the entire summer but that may change due to the fact that the calendar will overlap with Athletic’s first Europa League qualifier that will be played on 27 July. As of right now there is no clear plan on what will happen, but the Lions are hopeful to have him back before their season officially kicks off.