Kepa Arrizabalaga Says He Is Ready To Play At The World Cup If Called Upon
Kepa Arrizabalaga is enjoying his first trip to the World Cup and, although he hasn’t played, he is gaining invaluable experience. Due to recent issues with David De Gea there has been a debate among fans calling for the Athletic Club ace to start in Sunday’s match against host country Russia. Kepa recently spoke with Radio Nacional and admitted that everyone wants to play and that he feels prepared if called upon.
“Every one of us wants to play and we are prepared to do it, which is undoubtedly good for the group. But the manager is the one who decides because he’s the one that has to make the decisions. I don’t think I’m too ‘green’. I feel prepared and there is always a first time for everything. You have to start somewhere. I have played with Athletic in Europe and in the Primera so I think I’m ready.”
The 23-year-old went on to praise teammates David De Gea, saying that he is a great player and has the experience to handle the situation that he is in. Kepa understands that there will always be debates among fans and believes that players just have to know that it is part of being a footballer.
“David is a great goalkeeper, with a great career and all the guarantees of the world. He seems calm and he has the experience to handle the situation. All of us goalkeepers have a great relationship. We have been together for three years now and we talk a lot, support each other, learn from each other, and we rely on each other. In tournaments like the World Cup there is always debate. Before it was about the striker or who was left out of the squad, it is all a part of football. All of us players are used to it and we must know how to live with it.”
In closing, Kepa once again admitted that the drama surrounding his potential move to Real Madrid last winter was difficult to handle. He was not prepared for the focus to be on him daily, but has tried to learn as much from it as possible. When asked about Athletic possibly signing Yuri Berchiche the keeper said he would be a great addition to the team.
“It is true that last year there were situations that I wasn’t used to. It was a learning experience in every way. In football they don’t prepare you for that, just to play, not to live with the noise and tension from outside but I tried to learn as much as I could from it. I’m happy with my decision. Berchiche? Every good player that we can get is a positive thing. Although nothing is official at the moment, I hope it happens. He would be a great addition to Athletic.”
There have been reports lately suggesting that Spain coach Fernando Hierro is considering dropping De Gea for Kepa on Sunday, but that remains to be seen. The Athletic star believes that he is ready if called upon, but for the time being he is just focused on learning as much as he can while in Russia.