Unai Simón And Peru Nolaskoain Discuss What It Means To Make Their Debuts With Athletic Club
Athletic Club’s first game of the year against Leganés was very special for Unai Simón and Peru Nolaskoain. The Lezama graduates were named in the starting lineup and made their first team debuts which was a dream come true for both. They recently spoke with Athletic TV about the experience and what it all meant, and Unai Simón admitted that he couldn’t believe it at first.
“I didn’t expect it at all. I was told on Sunday after training that I would be in the starting line when, in fact, I thought I would be with the substitutes. When they tell you that it hit you, you don’t even believe it. You get to the shower and start to think ‘I make my debut tomorrow’. I only told my parents and my brother. I wanted it to be a surprise, a secret. Everything happened so fast.”
Simón went on to say that he was excited to sign his renewal before leaving to join Elche on loan. He was also happy to be called back to the first team which allowed him to make his debut five days later. The experienced has changed his life, but right now he wants to stay focused on continuing to improve his game.
“When the club asked me to renew it was a joy. I signed my extension with the option of going to Elche, which was a way to continue my progress and I left without hesitation. I didn’t think much of it because its not a bad thing to leave on loan. Then they called me because they wanted me back in Bilbao and I had no hesitation returning. The phone rang and they told me I had to come back, so I came back and my whole life changed in five days. My feet are on the ground. I’ve only played two matches in the Primera so I have to stay focused.”
Peru Nolaskoain revealed that the training trip to Holland over the summer is when things changed for him. He knew that he was being presented with a great opportunity and worked hard to earn his place. Making his debut at the San Mamés fulfilled a childhood dream and he was very excited to score a goal. To the 19-year-old it was a perfect night.
“When we went to train in Holland I had the chance to make the most of an opportunity, to learn from the other center-backs. I was close with Yeray at first. I was playing in the Segunda B last year and now I’m in the Primera. You notice the difference immediately and it takes a lot of work. My debut? It’s the day you’ve been waiting for since you were a child…to debut with the first team at the San Mamés, in the first league match with so many people watching you during Aste Nagusia. It was the perfect time to debut. I was not even thinking about scoring when I was in the box on that corner. It was a dream, a beautiful moment.”
The biggest things for Nolaskoain this summer was making the switch to center-back after having spent his entire life as a midfielder. He’s enjoying the role now that he’s gotten used to it and says that he’s getting better with every passing day and trying to learn as much as possible from the other defenders in the squad.
“It’s a big change. You’ve been playing in one position all your life and you get used to it quickly. I would get home and remind myself that I’m a center-back now, playing on the left, and I’m improving every day. Every match I’m more comfortable and happier in this position. Berizzo told me that I am good on the ball, but defensively I have a lot to learn. The demand is very high. I’m learning a lot from Yeray and Unai Nuñez every day.”
Unai Simón and Peru Nolaskoain are proving that they could both become very important players for Athletic Club. Despite their ages, the pair have looked confident and strong in the top flight and have their feet firmly planted on the ground. They understand what it takes to continue at this level and are focused on continuing to improve at this level.