Imanol Etxeberria Weighs In On Athletic’s Goalkeeping Situation
Imanol Etxeberria knows what it means to be an Athletic goalkeeper. The former Lion featured in over 100 games for Athletic from 1996-2001 and more recently has served as the goalkeeping coach under Kuko Ziganda. Speaking with Iñaki Ugalde of Mundo Deportivo, Etxeberria assessed the current situation at the club and believes Athletic has plenty of talent in goal.
“Unai Simón is a great promise and he did really well when he played. He is a goalkeeper who gives security. Iago Herrerín has a lot of experience and has been there. He is a consistent and reliable keeper. The Athletic goal is well covered with both. Remiro, on the other hand, hasn’t had an opportunity because of the personal circumstances that have occurred.”
Simón quickly became the golden boy of San Mamés when he made his debut in the first match of the season and dazzled with every performance. Etxeberria praised the 21-year-old and the fact that Lezama has proven to be one of the best youth academies in the world at developing goalkeepers.
“With Unai there is a goalkeeper who can be here for a while. I haven’t seen Ezkieta compete, but I’ve heard good things about him. You never know. It seemed that Kepa was going to be the goalkeeper for many years and then he left Athletic. In any case, this is a position that is well covered. At Athletic there has always been, there are, and there will always be good goalkeepers because that position is trained very well at Lezama. It’s a tradition and there are people who do it well.”
This summer Dani Aranzubia will return to the club where he will serve as the goalkeeping coach for Joseba Etxeberria’s Bilbao Athletic. Etxeberria was full of praise for his former teammate and admitted that he’s looking forward to coaching again soon.
“Aranzubia and Lafuente are good coaches, people from the club who have experience. At the moment I want to train elite goalkeepers and I would like to do it as soon as possible. This year I have used my time to study and do things related to football. Now I’m looking forward to starting again.”
In closing, Etxeberria weighed in on the previous season. He recognized that the team did well to turn around a difficult situation, but failing to qualify for Europe still leaves a sour taste.
“The league began with an uphill battle and the team had the ability to turn it around, although in the end there was pain. This year had another scare like Kuko spoke about recently and fans came together. The league is very competitive and every team is good and can sign good players. We have the tradition of being a leading club, but things are difficult.”
Imanol Etxeberria took a break from coaching this past year with Kuko Ziganda having been relieved of his duties at Athletic after just one season. The former Athletic goalkeeper is looking forward to coaching again soon and is expected to continue working under Ziganda who is fielding offers from other clubs this summer.