Iñigo Córdoba “I’m Happy With The Matches I’ve Played”
Iñigo Córdoba’s first season in the Athletic first team was special. He enjoyed regular minutes, played a big role, and established himself as more than ready for the top flight. This season wasn’t as easy. The 22-year-old was relatively unused under Eduardo Berizzo but returned to the lineup when Gaizka Garitano took over as manager. Córdoba recently spoke with Juanma Mallo of El Correo where he said that he’s still just trying to make the most of every match.
“I try to take advantage of the minutes I’m given and try to mature as a footballer. With Berizzo I didn’t have many opportunities. On the other hand, Gaizka trusted me a lot from the beginning and I’m very grateful to him. There is a big squad. The Mister has many players to choose from but I’m so happy to have opportunities.”
The Lezama product knows that he must keep improving to keep his place in the team. Córdoba highlighted his need to get better around the box and is happy to be giving assists in recent matches.
“I try to do as well as I can and follow the same routine. I have taken a step forward in being more decisive around the area and in the box. I have made some good passes in the last matches. I haven’t scored goals, but I have given assists. I know that Gaizka demands a lot of work and as a winger I have to work and help the fullback. I know that if I don’t do that then I won’t play. I’m doing well lately and demanding more from myself.”
For Córdoba, it’s always been about hard work. That is an asset taught at every level of Lezama and the 22-year-old says that each player in the squad knows the importance of fighting each day to improve.
“Everyone in the squad is here because of their work. It’s true that some players have more quality than others, but work is essential and even more at Athletic. It’s one of the key virtues to reach the first team. Even when I’m not playing I continue working for the next opportunity. I have been lucky to take advantage of the minutes that the coach has given me.”
The signing of Ibai Gómez back in January brought a lot of competition to the team. Córdoba was asked if it made things harder for him but doesn’t see it that way. “No, all competition in the team is a good thing”, he answered. “It’s good for me to have Ibai to make me better. It’s good for me to work harder. We know that the one who plays can’t relax because others are working their hardest to be available to the Mister.”
Córdoba’s second season has definitely been harder than his first. “The first season, being new, everything is a surprise”, he explained. “You are the new one and you bring new things, but in the second year you have to prove yourself and be a mature footballer. There are expectations now. I am comfortable and happy with the matches I’ve played.” Córdoba will have another chance to show his best on Sunday on the road against Real Madrid.