Yeray can’t wait to return to action

Yeray Alvarez believes he is close to returning to Athletic Bilbao’s first team squad and stated he ‘suffered more’ watching from the sidelines.

The central defender has twice fought cancer successfully in the past year, most recently undergoing a course of chemotherapy, while his Athletic teammates showed solidarity with the 22-year-old by shaving their heads.

“I suffer more watching from the stands than being on the pitch,” Yeray told a press conference on Wednesday.

“Being in the stands and watching things not always going to plan is tough. You want to be on the pitch helping the team!

“I am in my final stretch of recuperation, entering into the group’s main training session little by little and following the deadlines.

“I’m really happy with how things are going and my pre-season has been going for seven weeks, but I’m not setting myself deadlines, I just want to feel good and enjoy training with my teammates.

“You do get fatigued with symptoms of the treatment sometimes in the week after treatment, but now I value things much more and the feeling is decreasing.

“I was never afraid but they were tough moments, especially when I was preparing to play in the European Under-21 tournament.

“I have received many messages which I am grateful for, the support pleases me but there are plenty more cases like this and we must continue the fight.

“It will be tough for me to break back into the team – Nunez has come in and is doing very well and there is a high level of competitiveness within the squad.

“We have high demands and expectations at this club so fan anger at recent results is understandable.”

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