Donostia – Good news for Imanol Alguacil. After experiencing during the last few years preseason very marked by physical problems and casualties, this summer is moving towards the league debut (only fifteen days remain) with the Zubieta infirmary at a minimum. Only Silva (as a precaution due to discomfort in his right heel) Oyarzabal and Ryan stayed on the ground yesterday, without traveling to England for this afternoon’s friendly (4:00 p.m., YouTube) against Bournemouth. This is, without a doubt, powerful news, for what it means in general and for what it also means individually for Ander Barrenetxea. The winger from San Sebastian returns to a summons from the coach almost seven months after seriously injuring himself in Mendizorrotza. His recovery has been very long.
This has been the case, mainly, if we attend to the nature of the ailment. It was a muscle injury, although this was only the starting point for a more serious breakdown. The break was so important that it affected one of the tendons that connect the fibers with the bone structure. And from the first moment the club worked to find treatments that are not usually applied when mediating common muscle ailments. Barrenetxea (Donostia, 2001) suffered, specifically, “a severe injury, with tendon involvement, at the proximal level of the hamstring muscles of the left thigh.” Nine days after leaving the Deportivo Alavés field on a stretcher, Ander underwent surgery in a hospital in Finland.
The history of the San Sebastian winger in Real is well known. He debuted with Asier Garitano on December 21, 2018, without even having debuted with Sanse (he was only 16 years old). Already with Imanol on the bench, he concluded the campaign with a leading role and in the following season, as a full member of the first team, he played an important role in decisive duels in the Copa del Rey, especially in the qualifiers against Espanyol and Real Madrid. Later, in 2020-21 he took a step forward in terms of participation, perhaps not so much in terms of benefits. And it finally arrived last summer, the scene of a pre-season that had one of the most outstanding realists in Barrenetxea. With Oyarzabal at the Tokyo Games, Ander assumed stripes and pointed to an exciting confirmation. Things, however, soon took a turn for the worse. What he has lived since then has gone more unnoticed.
He assisted Lobete at the Camp Nou on the first matchday of the league, started against Rayo in the second and started again in the third against Levante, scoring the only goal of that game. He thus arrived at the international break in September, from which Barrenetxea returned with a resentful back after a duel in Lithuania on artificial grass, with the U-21 team. The long trip back hurt him even more and, when he returned to work in Zubieta, he had to say “enough”: he was suffering from bone edema in a lumbar vertebra. The injury was not entirely incapacitating, so at the end of the month, in the midst of a plague of muscle ailments in the squad, the man from San Sebastian had to make an effort to lend a hand in that way. He played 19 minutes at home against Monaco and 34 at Getafe. At what price? He resented.
The Coliseum match was played on October 3. Barrenetxea, whose great start had already been cut short, did not play again until November 4, against Sturm Graz at home. The duel against the Austrians was a new gateway to the team for him, being a regular in Imanol’s plans until the Christmas interruption of the championship. During it, however, the problems returned. The young txuri-urdin footballer contracted covid, which was diagnosed throughout the week in which the team did not train. After the relevant isolation and now back to activity, Ander once again found himself in a complicated context: on the return from the mini-vacation, the plague of positives on campus was important. So Vitoria’s famous match against Alavés was approached from a difficult position. Those available had to give the callus, and one of them was a Barrenetxea who had lived, until just a few days before, forced inactivity. After barely five minutes of meeting, his ischium tore with desire.
After a long convalescence, the blue and white footballer enters the scene today in Bournemouth. In the middle of last June he returned to Finland so that the doctor who operated on him gave the go-ahead for his recovery. Barrenetxea received the long-awaited green light, even knowing that Real wanted to tread carefully and introduce him little by little in the preseason. This has happened to the point that he has not been included in the squad for the first three friendlies, while during training he has progressively entered the group dynamics. Imanol, finally, sees him in a position to dress short and compete.
Barrenetxea’s call implies a very positive circumstance for the coach, who when he has opted this summer for a 4-3-3 has been covering the left wing position as he went. With Mikel Oyarzabal out of action for a while, Robert Navarro (first part) and Ander Martín (second) moved into the area against Toulouse. In Germany against Borussia Monchengladbach the scheme was changed. And this past Wednesday against Osasuna they performed in the Momo Cho demarcation and, again, Ander Martín and Robert Navarro. With Barrene already involved, Alguacil wins in alternatives for the attack and also aims to reveal an interesting unknown soon. Where does Ander fit into the 4-4-2 with a diamond in midfield?
Hour. 4:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. in England).
TV. The match can be followed live through the Real Sociedad channel on YouTube.
Stadium. Dean Court (known as Vitality Stadium for sponsorship reasons). It has capacity for 11,400 spectators.
The rival. Bournemouth returns to the Premier this season after two years in the English second division. He makes his home debut next weekend against Aston Villa.
Call without Silva, Ryan or Oyarzabal
The canary is out as a precaution, due to heel discomfort. They enter regarding the duel against Osasuna Guevara, Olasagasti, Gorosabel, Barrenetxea and Carlos Fernández.
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