Iker Muniain “The Coach Has Given Me This Opportunity And I Hope To Take Advantage Of It”
It’s been seven years since Iker Muniain last wore the Spain shirt. During that time he’s overcome two torn ACLs and isn’t the same player anymore. He’s grown a lot and the injuries have helped him develop into a stronger and more mature footballer. Now he’s back with the National Team and on Thursday he shared a press conference with Jaime Mata and discussed what it took to finally be called up again.
“Seven years ago I debuted with the Selection in a game in Malaga in 2012. Then I had a few important injuries and I’ve managed to get over them. Now, when things are beautiful, you savor it with more enthusiasm. The illusion of coming here is intact. I’m very happy to be here. There’s a good atmosphere and great players. I’m looking forward to the matches. Every player earns the right to be here because of what they do with their clubs. We are seeing that, if you are doing well, you can have opportunities to come with the National Team.”
Muniain believes that his injuries played a big role in keeping him from being able to compete on the international level. He’s now playing the best football of his career and hopes to make the most of his chance with Spain.
“I made my debut at 19 years old and I continued my career with the U21 team. After that, the first injury came and it’s always difficult to start again, but when I was comfortable the second injury came. The two injuries have impacted my trajectory and I couldn’t play at my best level. Now that I have recovered, the coach has given me this opportunity and I hope to take advantage of it.”
Injuries change a player, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Muniain is thankful for the lessons he learned through it all. He’s back to playing his best and believes that he has earned his place in the Spain squad.
“Those types of injuries make you reflect and change your mentality. Coming back from a serious knee injury is difficult, but I’ve been feeling pretty good for about a year now. I’m getting better and the past few months I’ve found myself at a high level, the level that I like to play. I think I’ve proven myself and I’ve been rewarded with this call. You feel proud of having overcome these problems.”
Iker Muniain and Spain will be in action on Saturday when La Roja host Norway at the Mestalla in the UEFA EURO qualifiers. Spain figure to be one of the favorites to win EURO 2020 which will also be a special competition for the city of Bilbao which will be one of the host nations.