Iñigo Martinez “I Have Always Been Fully Committed To The National Team”
Iñigo Martinez will get a break from Athletic Club over the next two weeks as he is on duty with the Spanish National Team. On Tuesday the defender sat down for an interview with EFE and admitted that it has been a difficult year at the San Mamés, but believes that securing a win in their next game will give the team encouragement moving forward.
“The most important thing is to get results with your team and when you see that they aren’t coming when you are working hard every day, it’s a setback. These things happen in football. We are in a rut that has made it hard, but winning a game can help the team look up and will give us encouragement. We need a win to start going up. We’ve always shown that we are with the Mister. He’s a good guy who works hard and he’s the first one who wants us to get out of this situation. He’s doing everything possible for the team to realize the potential we have. We are with him 100%. We have to be united and work together well because that’s the most important thing.”
During the last international break Martinez was left out of the squad due to a misunderstanding between the Selection and Athletic’s medical teams. Rumors began to circulate claiming that the 27-year-old didn’t want to play for Spain but he took the time to address these stories. He firmly stated that his commitment should never be questioned.
“It was clear that there was a misunderstanding between Athletic’s medical team and the one for the National Team. In the end I’m the one that suffered. If I had not wanted to be called I would have said it long before. I’ve been with the Selection from the U20s until now and I have always been fully committed. I have never had any problems and have always been happy to participate. It was a shame because I was the one who was left out. These things happen in football and I hope it never happens again.”
Martinez went on to thank Spain manager Luis Enrique who was quick to clarify the situation. The Athletic defender is happy to have the coach’s trust and says that he is happy to be with the National Team again.
“Having the confidence of the coach is an important thing for players. The coach clarified what happened and has said publicly that he trusts me. I thank him and everyone else who said what really happened because there was a lot of rumors and lies. We all know that they are a part of football. In the end the important thing is that I’m here again and I’m happy.”
With Gerard Pique having retired from international football Martinez is hoping to take over the vacant role in the team. He understands that Pique and Sergio Ramos had a great relationship for many years, but also says that Spain have changed a lot under Enrique, not just defensively.
“Sergio Ramos and Pique played many years together and many competitions. It was a lifetime and the relationship between them was evident. Thew knew each other well and understood where to be on the field without speaking. They already knew what each other was going to do. Ramos is a leader and we are lucky to have him with us and not as an opponent. The National Team has had a lot of changes, not only in defense. Spain is lucky to have so many newcomers and we have to show that we can play at that same level. To achieve this you have to work well. We have a great team with great players.”
In closing, Martinez said that he is confident in himself and believes that he will be successful on the international stage. He’s played against top competition for several years and is focused on doing his best with Athletic Club and the Spain National Team.
“I’ve been competing in the Primera against many good teams for years. I look at international matches as just another game that the team needs to win. I will contribute what I can because I know that I can play and will show my worth. I have full confidence in myself. I will do my best if I get to play and, if not, I’ll be on the bench cheering my teammates.”
Iñigo Martinez and Spain will be in action on Thursday as they face off with Croatia in the Nations League. La Roja will also play a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday before the international break comes to an end. Once he returns to Athletic, Martinez will begin focusing on the club’s La Liga fixture against Getafe on 25 November at the san Mamés.