Peru Nolaskoain “I Hope That What I’ve Done Will Be Enough To Stay At Athletic Next Season”
There’s been no football for nearly two months now but Athletic fans have still had opportunities to hear from the players. Over the past few weeks Athletic have been holding what they call “virtual press conferences” where fans are able to send in questions for a player to answer. Several members of the squad have already taken part, but Friday’s installment was very special as four players who are away on loan all participated in the video.
Peru Nolaskoain, Iñigo Vicente, Andoni López, and Cristian Ganea all took time to answer questions and explain why they believe their time away will help them improve. The four dream of returning to Athletic next season and fighting for their place in the first team squad.
“Leaving on loan is enriching both personally and professionally,” said Noalskoain when asked how he views spending the season away. “The main objective is to improve and to be available for Athletic next year. It makes you more mature, aware of things, and shows you how good it is to be at home.”
Earning a place in the Athletic squad won’t be easy. Nolaskoain will have to prove that he can contribute to the team but also says that having the right mindset is also important.
“The first thing is that you have to believe that you can stay in the Primera and with Athletic, but there are other people who have to decide. There are very good players on the team and the goal should be to compete with them and to try to stay and enjoy minutes.”
Nolaskoain’s time at Deportivo got off to a difficult start but in time he’s become one of the most important players in the team. For the most part the club has battled relegation this season but the 21-year-old is confident that that can climb much further up the table.
“We have lived through everything. We started badly and the second week I have the appendicitis operation. I was out for a month and a half. Eventually we started to turn it around. The seven consecutive victories returned us to the place we deserved to be, in the middle of the table. Then we had four games without a victory and we are back down here again. We can’t wait for the season to start again to try to win games and keep moving up the table. It’s like getting a master’s degree because I’m learning a lot.”
On a personal level, Nolaskoain has been pleased with his loan spell. “I have gone from less to more and played well in games,” he said. “I was important in those seven straight victories. I hope that what I’ve done and what remains to be done will be enough to stay at Athletic next season.”
Nolaskoain has also had a unique opportunity to share the field with a number of former Athletic players at Deportivo including Ager Aketxe and Sabin Merino. Both received words of praise for Nolaskoain who thinks they should both be playing in La Liga.
“I don’t know why Aketxe isn’t in the Primera. I think he has all the qualities that a player in the Primera must have. Hopefully one day we will be teammates at Athletic or both in the Primera facing each other. He’s my friend and he seems to me an extraordinary footballer. I saw the good level of Sabin Merino in the preseason and the truth is that he’s a very good striker. His goals really help us at Depor.”
When asked about his move to center-back under Eduardo Berizzo and first team debut, Nolaskoain admitted that it was all unexpected. He explained that he it was difficult at first, but that playing beside Yeray made everything much easier.
“The second day of preseason the coach put me as left center-back and I thought it was bad luck and that he wasn’t counting on me. I had never played as a defender. The friendly games went by and I felt comfortable and very good. I had not planned on playing in defense but the adaption was very simple. I played alongside Yeray who is among the best at his position and it helped a lot, it made it easier for me. Two days before my debut he asked me if I was ready and I said yes. I will never forget that Monday at San Mamés in Aste Nagusia. I’m very grateful to Toto for that opportunity.”
The Lezama product is often asked where he prefers to line up and maintained that he feels better in his natural position. “This year I have also played some in defense. If I have to tell you the truth I would rather play in the midfield, but I would feel comfortable in both.”
Based on recent reports it looks almost certain that the Copa del Rey final will have to wait until next season which led all four players to be asked about the possibility of taking part in the final. Winning is the biggest goal to Nolaskoain, but he would also love to play in the match.
“I hope to be able to compete in the Cup final. I often think about it, my dream is to win a title with Athletic. I don’t know how they will do it. Hopefully it will be played when we are there, with the fans, and that we can win it. Reaching the final has been because of the merit of the team and they deserve to play the final with the fans and take out La Gabarra.”
Nolaskoain has certainly made the most of his loan to this point. The 21-year-old has featured in 25 matches for Deportivo, scoring one goal, and has established himself as one of the key players in the team. Considering the expectation that Mikel San José and Beñat will both be leaving at the end of the season, Peru Nolaskoain will have an opportunity to fight for a place in the Athletic squad.