Things were not going well for Sporting Gijon last year when the club decided to fire manager Abelardo Fernandez. He was replaced at the beginning of 2017 with Joan Francesc Ferrer, more commonly knows as Rubi. The club also made three winter signings, including Athletic’s Mikel Vesga on loan. Sporting was not able to avoid relegation in the end, but Rubi recently spoke with Carlos Zaballa of Mundo Deportivo and said that Vesga’s arrival made the team much better.
“Given that the situation was difficult, I think he came clearly with the intention of helping us a lot. For us he was a player who brought us many different things. Of the three signings we made in the winger, this is the one that came out the best. I think that is clear. First he brought simplicity and humility in the day to day. He was respected for the way he carried himself and contributed professionalism with his total dedication to the team. At the coaching level, there was loyalty. He would try his best to do everything that was asked. Taking into account that he came having only played 200 minutes in the Primera, we introduced he into the team quickly.”
Rubi went on to say that Vesga was the perfect player to use in between in the defense and midfield. He kept things together and was also able to create danger with his passing ability. Despite being new to the team, he was trusted with the ball at his feet.
“He was very good at correcting the defense and being an aid to the midfield players when they were under pressure. He is a rich player tactically and he does everything you ask of him. It’s also not debatable what he can do with the ball at his feet. He is a great footballer who control the ball well and can deliver great passes. It gave us a lot of creativity in the middle of the field. It was a very good link and we always knew that he was going to deliver the ball where it needed to be.”
In closing, Rubi was asked to describe Mikel Vesga. He said that the 24-year-old is unique in that he has many different strengths, calling him a complete player. Vesga will now try to earn a role in Cuco Ziganda’s Athletic Club squad, which is something that Rubi believes he definitely has the quality to accomplish.
“I would say that he is a combination of many strengths. He provided just as much to our offense as he did to our defense. He is an intelligent player. I hope he does very well in professional football because he is a slightly different player footballer. He is a complete player. The half year at Sporting was very good for him. It is obviously more difficult to make the Athletic team, but he showed that he can be an important player for a club in the Primera. I think that if he is consistent then he will make a dent in the team for sure.”
Mikel Vesga will have a lot of competition at Athletic this summer as he looks to earn a spot under Cuco Ziganda. Players like Benat, Mikel San Jose, and Ander Iturraspe all have guaranteed places in the midfield so the 24-year-old will need to beat out someone like Mikel Rico, Unai Lopez, or Javi Eraso. Additionally, the possible signing of Mikel Merino could further complicate thing. Regardless of what happens, Vesga has shown that he can play at a high level in the Primera and he could have a major role at the San Mames very soon.