Back to the laughter and applause of the athletic internationals


Athletic yesterday changed its usual weekly training routine. Valverde summoned his men to hold an afternoon session, something that usually happens after a few days of rest or on the eve of a night-time game. The reason for the daily delay, however, this time is due to the interest of the Gasteiz coach to work with all parts of his squad included in the same group.

Valverde, in other words, has recovered troops for tomorrow’s match in San Mamés against Almería. The three Athletic internationals returned to Lezama in perfect physical condition after their respective commitments in Spain and Ghana, respectively. De Marcos, apart from the group in recent days, also trained yesterday afternoon at the order of the Gasteiz coach.

Unai Simón and Nico Williams arrive in Bilbao after shining their own light in the matches they faced Portugal and Spain on Tuesday night in Braga. The ‘rojiblanco’ goalkeeper, one of the great highlights of the clash, prevented the Portuguese from leading the scoreboard with some of his saves. The departure of the Navarrese striker, on the other hand, changed the course of a match in which Luis Enrique’s men won with a goal from Morata after a header from the Athletic winger.

Iñaki Williams, meanwhile, returned to Lezama yesterday after making his debut in the Ghana team. Against Brazil he was a substitute for France, but yesterday, against Nicaragua, he entered the starting eleven. His team won 1-0.

Another great novelty in this Athletic training session is the return of De Marcos to the group. The veteran rojiblanco winger has been training in recent days under the supervision of recuperator Xabi Clemente. Valverde thus cleans up the picture on the right wing of his defense.

We have to see what the Athletic coach’s intentions are for tomorrow’s match against Almería, but there doesn’t seem to be any big news about the starting eleven that won against Rayo Vallecano two Saturdays ago, also at home. The defence, with De Marcos fit, will be the same again as Vivian, one of the alternatives to play in the middle of the defence, is still injured. Yeray, Iñigo Martínez and Lekue should complete this line.

The main doubts revolve around the middle of the field. Valverde must choose between Dani García or Vesga and gauge whether he is betting on Ander Herrera as the starter. Upstairs, barring any last-minute contingencies, international brothers Williams and Berenguer are called upon to start.

Source: La Verdad


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