Jokin Ezkieta “I Dream Of Making My Debut At San Mamés”
Jokin Ezkieta has been Athletic’s only signing of the summer, but the 22-year-old brings plenty of excitement. The product of Barcelona’s La Masia academy, Ezkieta made the decision not to renew with the Catalans and signed a contract with Athletic through 2023. The goalkeeper began preseason training with the rest of his new teammates last week and told reporters on Friday that his goal is to fight for the starting role at San Mamés.
“I dream of making my debut at San Mamés. I think about that every day, but now it’s time to stop dreaming and work so that this dream can be realized. Of course, I am trying to be the starting goalkeeper. If not, I wouldn’t be here. I want to be one more that the manager can count on. The Mister has the last word and we will respect the decision he makes.”
Ezkieta went on to explain why he signed with Athletic, highlighting the club’s unique philosophy which he is proud to now represent. The goalkeeper confirmed that he did have a renewal offer from Barcelona but chose to leave for Athletic and he’s very excited about the move.
“When the Athletic offer came I didn’t even have to think about it. In fact, I rejected Barcelona’s renewal offer because I wanted to come here. It was a great dream. I was very excited because Galarreta always had great words about the club. I’m from Pamplona and have always admired the club’s philosophy. I am proud to be here, very happy.”
With four goalkeepers currently in the first team squad, Ezkieta knows there will be heavy competition. That being said, the 22-year-old isn’t shying away from the pressure and wants to learn as much as he can. Ezkieta still hasn’t spoken with manager Gaizka Garitano about his role and is simply focused on improving every day right now.
“There are great goalkeepers here. Athletic have always had great goalkeepers and I can learn a lot from them. I want to be a sponge and learn everything I can. The little I have seen, apart from being good goalkeepers, is that they are also good people. That makes the job very easy. I haven’t had the time to talk with Garitano yet. He will need to form an opinion of me by watching me train, but he has welcomed me and I am assimilated well to the basic concepts.”
When asked about the possibility of playing with Bilbao Athletic this season, Ezkieta explained that he’s open to whatever the club believes is best for his development. The ultimate goal is still to fight for a place in the first team and prove to Garitano that he can contribute at the highest level.
“I’ve come to fight for the goal at San Mamés. I will work and compete to the fullest and then it’s the coach who will decide who plays and who doesn’t. What I have to do is work so that he can bet on me. I won’t rule out anything, the club will have the last word. I wouldn’t rule out a loan if the club thinks it’s best, but I will work hard so that the coach can trust me as an option. I’m open to anything.”
If Ezkieta manages to earn a role at San Mamés this summer his first official game will be against his old club Barcelona. “Obviously, it’s a very difficult opponent but we don’t choose who we play against”, said the La Masia product. “This is the way the schedule has come out. We will work to the fullest and with enthusiasm to be at our best. It would be special to play against them.” The competition is great, but Jokin Ezkieta is ready to fight for his place.