Muniain ‘still only 20!’

Iker Muniain’s former and present Spain Under-21 Coaches have offered their insight into the youngster’s drop in form this year.

The attacking winger was a protagonist to Athletic Bilbao’s work last season but has struggled this term to replicate similar consistent form.

For his former Under-21 Coach at national level Luis Milla, patience is being pleaded.

“He is a player that we value greatly. For the national team he is very important. Perhaps he is not at his best right now, but that is the same for his team,” Milla told Mundo Deportivo.

“Iker has a lot of football inside. Certainly he will continue to improve. Let no-one forget that he is only 20! He’s a guy with a significant background in the Primera Division. At his age this is not usual.

“I see him as a footballer that is consolidated in the elite and a guy who at 20 must continue to improve and grow because he has tremendous potential and above all has a very competitive mindset.”

The player has also suffered in recent months with episodes of indiscipline, including behaviour under Milla during La Roja’s ill-fated Olympics campaign last summer.

However, for Milla’s replacement Julen Lopetegui, it is part and parcel of Muniain’s development.

“I will not get into those things. He is a player with character. Such situations will be solved with the passing of time and age, knowing that they lead to nothing.

“He is aware that he must continue to mature. Throughout the development of a footballer there are moments that are more difficult and moments that are easier, as it happens with teams too.

“Also, part of the formation of a player is in his ability to overcome hard times and to have the mentality to keep growing, focused on playing.”

Tags La Rojita Lopetegui Milla Muniain Spain Under-21s