10 Athletic Club Players Called Up To The Basque National Team Squad
The Basque Football Federation made history in December. The EFF officially voted in favor of applying for recognition from FIFA and UEFA. If successful, the Basque National Team would compete independently of Spain in international tournaments. The Federation is already taking the necessary steps in preparation and recently presented former Athletic coach Javier Clemente as the new manager of Euskadi.
For the first time in several years, Euskal Selekzioa will be traveling outside the country for a match. The Basques will visit the Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama on 29 May for a friendly match against Panama. Clemente officially announced his first squad as manager on Tuesday and there were some surprises.
When taking the managerial role Clemente made it clear that he wanted to call up players like Kepa Arrizabalaga, Javi Martínez, and Ander Herrera, but that didn’t happen. Instead, his squad of 17 players actually features 10 players from Athletic Club with five of those coming from Bilbao Athletic.
Aritz Aduriz will serve as captain with Mikel San José, Iñigo Martinez, Iago Herrerín, and Mikel Balenziaga all being called up as well. Asier Villalibre, Iñigo Vicente, Gaizka Larrazabal, Dani Vivian, and Jesús Areso were all called up from Bilbao Athletic. The rest of the squad consists of Levante’s Aitor Fernández, Alavés’s Manu Garcia, Unai Bustinza and Javier Eraso from Leganés, and the trio of Asier Illarramendi, Aihen Muñoz, and Aritz Elustondo from Real Sociedad.
Clemente’s squad selection has already come under criticism from different directions. Some Athletic fans believe that others such as Iker Muniain and Ibai Gómez deserved a place in the team more than those from Bilbao Athletic. Meanwhile, fans of other clubs aren’t happy that over half the squad has come from Athletic. At the end of the day, there’s no way of knowing exactly how the decisions were made. Euskal Selekzioa will be in action on 29 May against Panama.