Peru Nolaskoain “Being Versatile Is Good, But Having A Clear Idea Of What You Are Is Also Important”
Peru Nolaskoain’s transition to center-back last season is still having repercussions on his development. Since joining Deportivo on loan the 20-year-old has split time between defense and midfield which hasn’t made it easy to adjust. In a recent interview with La voz de Galicia the Lezama product explained that he came to Deportivo with hopes of growing as a midfielder but situations changed very quickly.
“Last year I started as a center-back because of the absences but I’m aware that Athletic has three of the best defenders in the league and it will be very difficult to find a place there. Because of that, I came here with the conviction of trying to train as a midfielder. I think that’s where I can give the team more and then return to Bilbao stronger in that position. Right now I’m playing in defense with Somma and Lambro out. That’s the situation that exists. I can play in defense and I’m delighted to do it and to be playing.”
Moving between two positions has been a challenge for Nolaskoain. “The situation isn’t easy because you don’t know what type of player you are”, he said openly. “You talk about Messi and you know what kind of player he is, it’s the same with others. I don’t know what kind of player I am and I don’t know if that will be good or bad. Being versatile is good, but having a clear idea of what you are is also important.”
Even preparing for match has been a challenge with Nolaskoain unsure of what his role will be. “It’s an awkward situation to not even know what position you have to train for in the next game. I have to look to see if they’ve called up a center-back to know where I will be. It’s weird. I’m at the service of the club and I will play as a goalkeeper if necessary, but I’d like to know what I am for the team.”
Addressing his loan move, Nolaskoain admitted that he had other offers from clubs much closer to home. Instead, he chose to join Deportivo where he wouldn’t be as comfortable which he believes will help him mature much quicker and become a better player.
“There were options closer to home. In Santander, for example. I would have lived comfortably and if things didn’t go well, like right now here at Deportivo, I would be with my people for support. But it’s important to learn, the sooner the better. If I stayed home and things were bad I would disconnect with my friends and that wasn’t going to help me mature. Here I have to handle things myself and know what is being done. I spend my free time thinking about how to improve and that strengthens me.”
The 20-year-old might not be at Athletic at the moment but he’s keeping a close eye on his teammates. When asked about the recent criticism of Gaizka Garitano, Nolaskoain quickly defended the Mister and said that he shouldn’t be doubted because he’s brought great results since taking over as manager back in December.
“In football you live on results, on playing well, so losing if of no use. Gaizka’s way of football may not be brilliant or exciting, but he came to Athletic and the results were immediately seen. You can’t say anything against him because if the team wins and you blame him for things… that’s something we don’t understand. Sometimes the references are lost and the victories aren’t valued as much as they deserve.”
After making his first team debut last season Peru Nolaskoain hopes to return next summer and fight for a permanent spot in the squad. “Being Athletic is really a religion”, he said with excitement. “It seems like a sin to be from Bilbao and not be Athletic. I arrived in the city when I was 15 and from the first moment I realized what the club means, the responsibility that there is to play your best and represent the colors.” While Nolaskoain looks to find his footing with Deportivo the ultimate goal is to earn his place at San Mamés.