Iñigo Vicente And Asier Villalibre Deserve Callups For Athletic Club’s Second Leg Cup Match Against Huesca
Athletic’s 4-0 win over Huesca in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie was supposed to be a turning point, but it wasn’t. It was unable to help the team build some confidence but did set them up for an easier return leg at El Alcoraz. With La Liga still being the primary focus new manager Gaizka Garitano will have the luxury of resting key players on Thursday. He will be able to give important minutes to others, but there are also two young stars that deserve an opportunity as well.
Bilbao Athletic’s season has been hampered by a flurry of injuries, but Garitano’s team have remained competitive. After a 5-1 win over Langreo over the weekend they moved to within four points of the promotional playoff zone and the whole team is deserving of praise. That being said, the attacking duo of Iñigo Vicente and Asier Villalibre have been the ones leading the charge.
Vicente has scored six goals this season and provided just as many assists, while Villalibre leads the team with nine goals himself, and two more in the Premier League U23 International Cup. The striker has also been training regularly with the first team. They have been two of the most outstanding players in the Segunda B and, with Thursday’s match providing the chance for starters to rest, the duo deserve the opportunity to be called up to travel with the team for the Copa del Rey second leg.
The decision will ultimately be up to Gartano and he could simply decide to stick with first team players for his coaching debut. Despite having a 4-0 lead after the first leg the tie isn’t over yet and Athletic will be playing against a dangerous Huesca team with nothing to lose.
Advancing to the round of 16 is the only goal on Thursday and that alone may lead Garitano to play it safe which wouldn’t be a bad decision as he will only have one training session with the squad before coaching his first game for Athletic. Regardless, Vicente and Villalibre have earned the chance to travel with the team, even if they don’t get to play.