With exactly one week until Athletic’s season begins, every single day is vital for preparations. So far the Lions have played in three friendly matches and will compete in their fourth on Friday when they travel to take on Club Brugge. Many are viewing this game as a strong tune up match before facing Dinamo Bucuresti in the Europa League next week, but Cuco Ziganda’s squad call-ups have shaken things up quite a bit on Thursday afternoon.
When the squad for the match was officially announced there were several players curiously missing. Mikel San Jose, Ager Aketxe, Unai Nunez, and Inigo Cordoba will all be left behind. Meanwhile, Ziganda did call up Bilbao Athletic standouts Aitor Seguin and Peru Nolaskoain. Both players have a lot of potential and this could be a case of the coach finally given them some time with the first team. Still, no one saw it coming.
Soon after the squad was announced a change was made. Eneko Boveda was taken off the list and replaced by two more Bilbao Athletic stars in Jon Sillero and Andoni Lopez. With four total reserve players in the squad, and 18 players in total, many have wondered just what Cuco Ziganda is planning for the match against Club Brugge. The rest of the squad consists of Athletic’s strongest players, minus San Jose, so it is very interesting indeed.
Sillero (right-back) and Lopez (left-back) are two very promising players at Lezama whom many believe could have a future at the San Mames. Meanwhile, Seguin returned last year from a torn ACL and lost his place in the starting lineup to none other than Inigo Cordoba. Before that injury he was a strong candidate for promotion. Lastly, Nolaskoain is one of the most hyped players at Bilbao Athletic and touted for big things at Athletic. He is a central-attacking midfielder who has a lot of technical ability and an eye for creating chances. He isn’t shy of scoring goals either, but is still very young at 18 years old.
Regardless of what Ziganda is planning, the game against Club Brugge is an important one. After this match the Lions will only have a friendly against Real Valladolid before traveling to Romania to face Dinamo Bucuresti. It is vitally important that everyone is ready when next Thursday comes and the players have been outspoken about the fact that they feel prepared. Athletic’s goal is to go as far as possible in the Europa League and it all starts in Romania.