Álvaro Núñez Turning Heads Since Returning From Injury
Athletic’s 2000 generation is truly something special. Two years ago the Juvenil A team enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in club history and many of those players could soon be kicking the ball at San Mamés. Starlets like Oihan Sancet, Unai Vencedor, and Juan Artola are on the cusp of reaching the first team while several others are showing that they have the potential to do the same.
With the forwards and midfielders receiving so much praise, and rightly so, the young defenders haven’t gotten quite as much attention. However, fullbacks Imanol García de Albéniz and Álvaro Núñez have also been exceptional over the past few years. The pair played at a very high level with Basconia last season and have taken another important step forward in their development.
Over the summer, both Imanol and Núñez were promoted to Bilbao Athletic with hopes of earning important roles in the team. It would take a few months, but Imanol eventually overtook Jon Rojo as the starting left-back and has been in sensational form. Núñez, on the other hand, suffered a broken collar bone during preseason and was forced to miss several weeks.
The right-back was cleared to return to action in October but there was no path at Bilbao Athletic. Jesús Areso had established himself at the starter with Jon Sillero the backup. Núñez needed minutes to get back to his best form and was sent to Basconia where he featured in 12 games as one of the team’s most outstanding players.
Núñez would make his Bilbao Athletic debut in the win over Cultural Leonesa at Lezama two weeks ago, but only played the last few minutes of the game. However, the 19-year-old was named to the starting lineup over the weekend as the Kumeak traveled to Salamanca. Areso’s suspension opened a path for Núñez who took full advantage of the opportunity.
While Bilbao Athletic only managed a 1-1 draw against Salamanca, they were the better side and Núñez was one of the best players on the field. Solid in defense, Núñez prevented Salamanca from creating any real danger on his side of the pitch. The right-back was confident on the ball going forward, winning a few dribbles and making a number of dangerous passes as well.
Since returning from injury Álvaro Núñez has shown the exciting potential that always made him standout as a top prospect at Lezama. In fact, he’s impressed so much that he’s even been called up to train with the first team at times. With Bilbao Athletic expected to compete in the promotional playoffs, Núñez will give Joseba Etxeberria another reliable weapon and will challenge for a starting role next season with Jesús Areso likely being promoted to sent on loan.