Peru Nolaskoain Has Reportedly Earned His Place In Berizzo’s Squad As A Center-Back
Eduardo Berizzo has already made a few changes to the Athletic Club squad since taking over as the new manager this summer. From having wingers play on both sides to moving Iker Muniain into a midfield role Toto hasn’t been shy to try new things. However, it was his decision to transition Peru Nolaskoain to center-back that raised the most eyebrows.
The 19-year-old has spent his young career as an attacking midfielder and has always stood out as one of the most promising players at Lezama. It wasn’t surprising when he was called up to train with the senior squad this summer, but the first thing that Berizzo did was move him into defense. Andoni López also made the transition to center-back, but as a natural left-back the change didn’t seem all that surprising.
After making the decision to allow Xabi Etxeita to join Huesca on loan it became likely that one of Nolaskoain or López would be handed a role in the team. Now it finally looks as though Berizzo has made a decision. According to a report from Juanma Mallo of El Correo, Peru Nolaskoain has earned his place in the team and will stay in Berizzo’s squad as the fourth center-back.
If that is true there will still be many fans that question the decision. Nolaskoain has always showed the ability to be a great attacking midfielder, but Berizzo sees something unique in the player in a defensive role. The 19-year-old’s strengths in midfield are exactly why Berizzo believes he can be a strong defender. He has all the qualities that Toto requires of his center-backs – strength, size, reading the game, and the ability to play the ball. Sources have also said that Nolaskoain could also split time with Bilbao Athletic when he isn’t needed in the first team in order to continue getting minutes.
So far Nolaskoain has featured in four friendlies this summer, each time at center-back and each time with a different partner. He’s looked much better in each match and there is no denying his understanding of the game of football. There is only a limited sample size to go off of, but so far he has shown that a move to center-back might not be as crazy as it sounds. If the reports are true, and nothing changes over the next few weeks, Peru Nolaskoain will have a place in Eduardo Berizzo’s team this season.