Dani García “All I’ve Wanted For A Long Time Is To Be Here”
Dani García has been one of the most important players for Athletic since joining the club over the summer. After two league games he currently leads the team in passes and recovered balls and his influence on the field is obvious. The midfielder recently had an exclusive interview with Javier Beltran of AS and said that he understands his role perfectly which helps him be successful.
“I don’t usually read statistics but I did see something on Twitter saying that I had recovered the most balls. I’m happy about that. If everyone on the team improves then our level will go up. The players in the midfield have to create and my job is to help them. It’s not false humility or anything like that, my role is very clear and I’m happy to play it.”
García went on to admit that he’s been very surprised by how many Athletic fans come out to watch the open training sessions. It’s different than what he was used to at Eibar and also said that he’s starting to notice even more differences between Eduardo Berizzo and former manager José Luis Mendilibar.
“I’ve been surprised by how many fans come to our open training sessions. At Eibar I wasn’t used to that since the training center is in Mondragón and not many fans went there. At first I saw few differences between Berizzo and Mendilibar, but not I see more both at a football and physical level. Both have the idea of pressing and being the ones with possession, but in a different way.”
Over the summer Athletic were also linked with a move for Mikel Merino, but the midfielder decided to join Real Sociedad. Dani García says that he wasn’t worried about the possible addition and only has words of thanks for Real Sociedad where he spent many years at their youth academy.
“I heard people talking about Mikel Merino, but I don’t think we are the same type of footballer. And, if Athletic wants to sign a player in your position it doesn’t depend on you. If a good player comes in the team will be better and you can push each other. I know that I never made it to the first team at Real Sociedad, but I don’t have a thorn in my side about it. The only thing I have is thanks for the training they gave me. I arrived there as a youth and I’ve been improving ever since.”
When García was promoted to the first team at Alicante in 2010 it was his first year in the Segunda B which he felt was a major accomplishment. He never thought that he would be able to play in the first division, but knows that he has worked very hard to improve his game over the years.
“I never thought I would reach the first division. For me playing in the Segunda B was a dream and at no time did I think I was going to reach the Segunda or the Primera. I’m aware that I have improved. Tactically and physically I have always been a good player, but the first division forces you to excel in several aspects. Technically, with the ball, I’ve been improving every year.”
Turning the attention to his teammates, the midfielder stated that he believes Iñaki Williams can score a lot of goals for Athletic Club. The forward is electric and is still improving. García also lamented the injury of Oihan Sancet who tore his ACL last week, but says that the 18-year-old will be a decisive player when he reaches the first team.
“When Iñaki scores one, others will come. He is already a reference as a player and will become much more. He has a great future ahead of him. The only thing he lacks is the tranquility that Aduriz has in front of the goalkeeper. Remiro? At first we were surprised because we didn’t know anything. Everyone has their issues and concerns. We can’t do anything else besides make it as normal as possible. Sancet’s injury is a pity because he has so much potential. If this isn’t his debut season, which it was going to be, he will be here soon and will be a difference maker.”
In closing, Dani García admitted that Athletic have seen some great players leave the club over the last few years. Still, he says, the Lions have remained competitive and have been able to regularly qualify for Europe. He revealed that he also had offers to move to England, but chose Athletic because it was the best move for him.
“Although Athletic has seen great players leave, the club has continued to have good seasons, except for last year. Athletic has continually been in Europe and we have to keep in mind why some players leave. I had the option of going to England, but Athletic was the best decision. I was very interested in being part of the great club. All I’ve wanted for a long time is to be here.”
The international break is still going on, but Athletic have their eyes fixed on next weekend’s clash with Real Madrid at the San Mamés. The Lions have had a strong start to the year and know that they will have to be at their best to take points off of their visitors. Dani García will play a major role in the match and will be hoping to stifle the Real Madrid midfield.