Raul Fernandez says he is ready when called upon by Athletic Bilbao after deputising for the injured Gorka Iraizoz against Malaga.
The 24-year-old goalkeeper has played just two previous La Liga games for Los Leones and, after receiving a late call-up from boss Marcelo Bielsa, insists he is prepared to step in when necessary.
“Unfortunately I had to play because of an injury to a teammate but my job is to be ready when that happens and I’m ready to continue in the side,” he told Mundo Deportivo.
Raul claimed his day was made extra special because of the tribute before the game to Bilbao’s legendary goalkeeper Jose Angel Iribar, who was celebrating a 50-year association with the club.
“I’ve not played at San Mames for a long time so it was fantastic to be able to greet him and he wished me a lot of luck,” said Raul.
“As for the match, both teams had a lot of respect for each other. Malaga are very fast on the counter-attack and we had to be able to stop that.
“However, I was satisfied with how we played and I’m just sorry that we couldn’t have got a goal to have taken all three points.”
A brilliant first-half reaction save from Jesus Gamez helped the Basques keep a clean sheet, something Raul maintained was important in such a tight contest.
“It was a great shot but I had to save it. It was a game of few chances and if I hadn’t it could have tipped the balance,” he declared.