Kepa Arrizabalaga and Inaki Williams will have to compete with Spain’s U21 team without Yeray. The center-back suffered a relapse in his battle with cancer and will be out for around three months while undergoing chemotherapy. Kepa recently spoke with Radio Marca and admitted that the news took everyone by surprise, but he hopes that his fellow Lezama graduate will be back playing football soon.
“The news was hard to take because we did not expect it. It’s like it happened overnight. He was fine one day then the next he had to leave. Now we have to encourage him and be with him during this time. What we all hope is that everything goes well and that he can be back with us soon.”
The keeper went on to say that the team wants to win the U21 EUROs for Yeray who had been playing at a very high level. He even admitted that he believes some players will dye their hair in support of the young defender.
“Yeray had a great first season with Athletic and I was very much looking forward to facing the EUROs with him. We hope that he can recover quickly. We want to win for him. We are ready for it, but it won’t be easy. Will we do something special to show our support? I’m sure some players will dye their hair.”
Spain’s U21 will play their first match of the group stage on 17 June against Macedonia. Kepa is expected to continue his role as the starting goalkeeper, while Inaki Williams could also start as the right-winger. Yeray would have been one of the starting center-backs had he been able to play. With Athletic Club beginning their season on 27 July in a Europa League qualifier, Kepa and Inaki may not be available for manager Cuco Ziganda.