Oscar De Marcos Discusses A Return To Midfield And Eduardo Berizzo’s Desire For Versatility
There has been constant excitement since Athletic Club named Eduardo Berizzo as the new manager of the first team. The Marcelo Bielsa disciple has brought the same energy and intensity to training so far this season and Oscar De Marcos took the time to discuss the two coaches while the team is training in Holland. He says that they are similar in a lot of ways, but that Berizzo has his own style as well.
“They worked together for a long time and the style looks the same. Each coach has his own ideas, but they start from the same base, although Toto has introduced some nuances. There are quite a few changes that we have to learn. It is clear that it will lead to good things. A change helps everyone and I think the team will be good. Sometimes a fresh start is the best thing.”
Berizzo has not been shy about trying players in different positions this summer and has been training De Marcos in midfield for about a week now. The 29-year-old played that role under Marcelo Bielsa and has admitted that he really enjoys it. However, the expectations are a bit different under Berizzo.
“It’s true that I have not played in that position for a long time, but everyone knows I like playing in midfield. I do not know if I’ll end up playing there or not. It is a little different to what I did under Bielsa. I’ve only been training in the position for a week, so there are still many things to learn. The coach has emphasized that I can start from behind the attacking midfielder and help him. There are things that I will have to do differently if I have to play there.”
De Marcos went on to reveal that Berizzo has been training most of the players in different positions, partly as a way to help the team learn all of the nuances of the system. He says that the team has been adapting well to the style of play and that everyone is competing to play regular minutes this season.
“In the end every player wants to play, to be counted on by the coach, and try to give their best possible for the team. I think that today almost every player is learning to play in different positions and due to circumstances I have already played in many positions. We have all adapted well and that is important. In training the coach is testing many things. He puts us in a certain position, but during the drill everyone’s position will change so that we all learn the movements. It helps us all learn the concepts as quickly as possible.”
In closing, De Marcos admitted that returning from injury was difficult last year and that he was never fully healthy. Going into his tenth season with Athletic he is fresh and ready to start the year strong. He is also entering the final year of his contract but is calm about his future because he loves the club and hopes to bring a title back to the San Mamés.
“Last season it was hard to recover and I was limping the whole year. You always want to come back as soon as possible. You try to make yourself available, but those are things that are sometimes out of your control. Now that I am fit my goal is to train hard and be my best from the beginning of the season. This will be my tenth season at Athletic and everything has happened very fast. I never thought I could be playing in the Primera for so many years. My contract? We have not talked about anything yet. I have always said that if the club loves me and values me as they always have then there will be no problem. I’m very happy here and my dream is to win a title with Athletic. For that to happen you have to be here for years and maybe this year we can accomplish that goal.”
Eduardo Berizzo has made it a point to highlight his love of versatile players this summer and that has been evident in training and in friendlies. Several players have featured in more than one position and others have been transitioned to a new role entirely. In the end, Toto’s style is still the same intense, attacking football that it has always been and the team looks to be adapting very quickly. The new season is now less than a month away and the anticipation is building.