Athletic Bilbao's Berizzo Shock Moves Attacker Nolaskoain To Defence: How Did He Perform?

by Ioannis Theodorou
27th Aug 2018

Athletic Bilbao have appointed former Sevilla boss Eduardo Berizzo as their new Head Coach. The 48-year-old was sacked by Sevilla in December after a run of poor results in La Liga. The Argentinian had only recently returned to work following an operation to treat prostate cancer.

Eduardo Berizzo has already made a few changes to the Athletic Club squad since taking over as the new manager this summer. From having wingers play on both sides to moving Iker Muniain into a midfield role Toto hasn’t been shy to try new things. However, it was his decision to transition Peru Nolaskoain to center-back that raised the most eyebrows.

The 19-year-old has spent his young career as an attacking midfielder and has always stood out as one of the most promising players at Lezama. It wasn’t surprising when he was called up to train with the senior squad this summer, but the first thing that Berizzo did was move him into defense.

Nolaskoain has always showed the ability to be a great attacking midfielder, but Berizzo sees something unique in the player in a defensive role. The 19-year-old’s strengths in midfield are exactly why Berizzo believes he can be a strong defender. He has all the qualities that Toto requires of his center-backs – strength, size, reading the game, and the ability to play the ball.

Peru Nolaskoain vs Leganes

          1 goal
          70 passes
          91% pass accuracy
          1 tackle won
          2 interceptions
          2 clearances
          6 aerials won

          One of the best players on the pitch. What a debut.

His interview after the game: “You dream of making your debut as a child and this was a dream debut. Playing in The Cathedral, in front of our own fans, and scoring a goal at the San Mamés in incredible. The sensations were great. It is a very strong emotion to see the fans celebrate your goal. I had never thought about it and it feels euphoric in that moment. There is a lot of adrenaline, but the important thing is that we earned the three points at home to start the league. I try to work hard every day to earn opportunities to play and I want to make the most of my chances. The manager told me that he had confidence in me and I try to repay him for that confidence. It is very important to start the season well. We knew these points were vital and now we go into the second game with enthusiasm and desire. It is easy to play with players who have the level of Nuñez, Yeray, and Iñigo who is injured right now. They have helped me a lot. They are better than me defensively because they have been playing there for a while. I feel comfortable with the ball because I played in midfield, but I have to learn from them every day in training.”

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