Hodei Oleaga Returns To Bilbao Athletic
When preseason training officially began on 4 July Gaizka Garitano had three goalkeepers at his disposal – Iago Herrerín, Hodei Oleaga, and new signing Jokin Ezkieta. Unai Simón, who will battle Herrerín for the starting role, was not scheduled to report to the team until Athletic left for their training trip to Europe. Meanwhile, Ezkieta and Oleaga have been competing for the third goalkeeper spot in the squad.
With Athletic not playing in Europe this season, it’s unlikely that Garitano will actually keep three goalkeepers. If so, that player would be expected to spend the season with Bilbao Athletic in order to be available for the first team in case of an injury. The fourth goalkeeper would go on loan somewhere in the Segunda to play regular minutes and continue developing.
Garitano seemingly tipped his hand on Saturday when Athletic played their first summer friendly against Arenas Club with Herrerín starting and Ezkieta coming on at halftime. Oleaga was on the bench, but never saw the field. After the match, the club announced the 30-man squad that will travel to Germany which did not include the Lezama product.
Oleaga, who is under contract through 2022, will return to Bilbao Athletic and train under manager Joseba Etxeberria while the first team is in Germany. It’s unknown whether or not Oleaga has been permanently sent back to the reserves or if the club is currently looking for a loan assignment. Either way, the 22-year-old will do his best this season to prove that he can have a future at San Mamés.