Petxarroman: “When Athletic called me, I said to myself: ‘I’m upside down’

From the San Sebastian neighborhood of Añorga, straddling the capital and Zubieta by the Nacional 1 that leads to Lasarte, Alex Petxarroman (1997), a youth squad for Real Sociedad, crossed the A-8 this summer towards Bilbao. From Xabi Alonso happened to Marcelino García Toral. In Athletic everything seduces him, he has fallen standing up in the locker room, where he competes to vindicate himself in the elite: “Here they joke me a lot with the preseason because they tell me that I was on the stretcher all day,” he says in an interview for ACE. “I’m delighted and nothing has surprised me because I knew where it came from, to a top site”, points out and acknowledges that his friends “They are from the Real to death.”

From Antiguoko he passed Zubieta quickly.

In Benjamín I was in the Antiguoko and in Infantil Txiki I have already signed for the Real. In fact, the Real does not have Alevín category and you enter from Infantile.

He was champion of the Youth League with the generation of the Oyarzabal, Zubeldia, Guevara, Muñoz …

We won the Juvenile Honor Division League and in the Champions phase, Villarreal eliminated us with Rodri and Pedraza and some more, and Copa del Rey eliminated us Celta in the semifinals.

Then to Berio, an agreed club that acted as Real Sociedad B and loan to Gernika.

Yes, in Third two years, although I do the preseason with Sanse and go on loan to Gernika. At Sanse, the coach would not count on me for much and as he had overcome this Third Division to seek that jump to Second B.

And in Gernika he runs into Jabi Luaces as a coach and a squad very committed to the club.

Yes, I have a special affection for Luaces because since I arrived the team was wonderful, the dressing room was the host. We also had a very good season, we were about to enter the playoffs on a low budget.

Back to Sanse three years already with stripes, captaincy, ownership and promotion to the Second Division.

That first year I do half a season with Imanol (Sheriff) and a half with Zulaika because Imanol goes up to coach the first team and then with Xabi Alonso, who started the season very well, but I got injured. I tear the cruciate ligament in my right knee and I can only play six games. Last year it was already a great campaign.

In Sanse he played everything: right back, central, midfielder and right winger … Does this versatility come from before?

The truth is that I have played in many positions. As a child, in the Ikastola, as a midfielder, everything played. At the Antiguaoko as center back, I move to the Real as center back, I stay a little small and move to the right back, which is where I have played the most. I can adapt to playing in various positions. Nowadays, the winger in the world of football has taken on a lot of strength and prominence, you are not the typical defensive winger. I feel very comfortable there.

Xabi Alonso wants him for his project at Sanse in the SmartBank League, but Athletic calls him and offers him that preseason and a real chance to play in the First Division. I doubt it?

No. I had the option of staying at Real because Xabi Alonso has always counted on me, and he loved me there at all costs, but when the opportunity to come to Athletic for the First Division came out …, I didn’t hesitate much because there was nothing to doubt .

In La Real, he had the Gorosabel, Zaldua, Sola, Elustondo … did he see it as too difficult?

No, in the end I saw myself capable of fighting there with them. More than the plug that there was, that there was that plug, where the coach is not counting on you, you also have to look for exits. Athletic comes to you and the truth is that I did not doubt it at any time. I said to myself, I’m going head over heels.

But, of course, within Athletic he was also going to meet Capa, Lekue, De Marcos … similar in that aspect to Real.

That is, in the end he came to a team in which you run into three right-backs and you see that you also have a cap. Here, in the First Division, in professional football, it is difficult anywhere. You have to earn it and work. As soon as the opportunity came up, I didn’t think twice and came here delighted.

And in the preseason he seduced Marcelino García Toral, which is not easy at all.

With work, sacrifice, also moments of suffering. In fact, here they joke with me a lot about the preseason because they tell me that I was on the stretcher all day, that if the calves, the hamstrings, the adductors, I was stiff on all sides, but hey, with work, with confidence that the group gave me and the coach took advantage of the minutes, I earned it and I am very happy.

Do you believe in karma, in destiny that after overcoming those injuries from the preseason and the competition, you had to make your debut with Athletic on matchday 11, precisely in Anoeta against Real, your lifelong team?

Well, yes, you think about it, it is curious that I have to make my debut at Anoeta … Yes, in the end it is a special match because I spent many years in Zubieta, I know people, colleagues, friends, but once you jump on the field it does not matter the rival. You go to yours.

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But the following day, last Friday against Cádiz, he warmed up for the San Mamés band but did not act for a single minute. Was it a disappointment?

Yes, I had that desire and that illusion to continue participating, to contribute, a shame, but in the end you cannot regret it. I am available, and when I have to arrive, I will arrive.

In that famous conversation that you had on the pitch at Campo 2 in Lezama with Marcelino for ten minutes, what did you say to him?

Marcelino has been close to me and we have spoken many times. We almost always train behind closed doors and it is not seen, but we have spoken several times. He didn’t say anything to me from the other world, he encourages me to continue working, that in the end the competition I have now is strong, there are people who are doing well and you have to wait for the moment.

This last week in the Lezama sessions he is testing him exclusively as a midfielder, is it something temporary or do you suspect that he has more travel?

They see that I can also contribute there and you never know. I am working as usual and in that position I also feel comfortable. You do not know where you can have more travel.

What has amazed you the most about Athletic from within?

Everything surprises you. I come from a subsidiary, although I had trained with the first team and you did see how everything worked and this is rather similar. You have everything you need. You come to the facilities in the morning, you have breakfast, you have food, you live like a king. You train for two hours and the medical team at your disposal, the fields, is wonderful, it is amazing. I’m delighted and nothing has surprised me because I knew where it came from, to a top site and that’s how it was.

Añorga’s friends have already assimilated it, is there much hesitation?

There is always the hesitation between Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia, that pique will always exist and my friends are from the Real to death.

Are these friends now something from Athletic or at least have their mentality changed somewhat?

I think a little yes, but … very little. Those who are very fond of continue wanting Athletic to lose and the others are very happy for me and every time I play, obviously, they want me to win.

Are there any of your new colleagues who have surprised you, you go on a daily basis in Lezama?

A little all, for example the professionalism of Raúl García, who has been through great teams, and at his age how he works every day. I can say it of many, of De Marcos, of Balenziaga …, they are incredible people, Muniain’s talent, they are people that you saw on TV, that you admire and now you are training with them and you see how professional they all are and you infect. Either you work every day or you can’t stay long.

From Zubieta the Zubimendi, Guevara, Barrenetxea … have been rising lately … and in Lezama the Sancet, Vencedor, Morcillo …, do you see that there is a certain parallelism between both quarries?

Of course, the two clubs are quarry. Athletic has that added difficulty that only Basque people can bring and it is one more difficulty because they have a much more limited market, but they do look alike. Almost every day players from the subsidiary come up to train with us and that gives the level.

If Petxarroman did not play it a lot between now and the end of January, would a transfer to the Second Division be considered, as was already considered in the summer?

The truth is that I have not planned. I have the confidence of the coach, I have confidence in myself and I know that there are going to be beautiful moments. Now it’s time to wait.

How are you seeing Capa, who is not counting in Marcelino’s plans?

Well, we are all working hard. The reality is what it is. You fill a position and that position has different alternatives and the coach is counting on other people and you have to take it up and keep working. You have no other choice, you cannot regret or scratch yourself because you do yourself wrong. I see Capa well, working well, waiting for an opportunity.

Is that Lekue does not leave cracks in lane 2 … has it surprised you?

He has surprised more outside the team. Here everyone has a level and Lekue is taking a spectacular level and has taken that leap to settle.

After the defeat against Cádiz in which criticism grew, have you noticed the pressure from the Athletic environment?

I do not think so. We have started the season very well and people have become hooked on the team. I don’t know how the previous years could have been, without entering Europe, in the middle of the table, but this year at least I have not noticed that pressure from the people. People are excited and eager.

What do you want for this individual and choral level course?

Play more, progress and improve and at a group level I would love to have that feeling of entering Europe. I also have that desire to debut in San Mamés when those lights go out and see that I am the one who is entering, and enjoy.

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