“When I’m Playing I’m In Their Minds” – Hammers Keeper Adrian Not Giving Up On Spain Dream
West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian San-Miguel is refusing to give up on his dream of being recalled to the Spanish International set-up, stating “When I’m playing I’m in their minds,” despite not making it into the Spain squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Manager Julen Lopetegui announced his squad for the tournament earlier in the week, but it didn’t include Adrian, instead opting for first-choice David de Gea of Manchester United, Napoli’s ex-Liverpool ‘goalie Pepe Reina and Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga as the ‘keepers.
However, this did nothing to dampen the shot-stopper’s spirit, drive and determination to work his way back into the reckoning for national selection, at the age of 31, as conveyed by a recent interview with West Ham’s official website WHUFC.com.
“I’m only 31 and I feel every time that, as a goalkeeper, I want to play as many games as possible because I am at an age when I need to play,” announced the former Real Betis star.
“The opportunity with the national team is also there. It’s too late for the World Cup because I didn’t play enough games, but I know that when I am playing I am in their minds.
“I will just continue to try my best here and hopefully more opportunities will come, both for West Ham and then for Spain.”
Adrian has not been called up to a national team squad since the start of the 2016/2017 campaign when he was selected by the current boss Lopetegui, who was naming his first ever team as his nation’s boss and has recently signed a contract extension.
However, the shot-stopper was left frustrated as he did not get on to the pitch in either of the matches he made the matchday squad for, a friendly with Belgium and a Russia 2018 qualifier with Liechtenstein.
The popular Spaniard has been made to fight for the number one jersey for the second season running in 2017/2018, in competition with Manchester City loanee Joe Hart.
Hart made marginally more appearances throughout the term, of the two, but there was little to choose between the pairing as Adrian started 22 times for the Hammers in all competitions.
He didn’t begin 2017/2018 as a starter in the league under Slaven Bilic, with the new signing Hart being preferred, but coupled with a poor start, the England International’s poor form and a change of manager, he soon weaved his way back in, something he has been able to do throughout his time in East London.
By early December and having impressed away at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League when Hart was unavailable to face his parent club, once again, Adrian returned to the starting Xl under the guidance of David Moyes and his teammate was assigned the cup duties.
The decision appeared to pay-off, with San-Miguel recapturing his form and the Irons began to climb the table and get away from danger, they would eventually finish in May in 13th on 42 points.
But, first, coupled with an injury crisis and a poor January transfer window the form and fortunes of the club soon dipped and they began tumbling back towards danger.
As a result, the Ex-Spanish International lost his place in the team, following consecutive 4-1 losses to the Red and Swansea City, this looked to be his campaign up, although there would be another twist in West Ham’s goalkeeping situation.
Despite a credible display in the away draw with Chelsea in the league, Hart made two errors leading directly to opposition goals, costly ones too, and when Blue Moon visited London Stadium, Adrian was reinstated.
The ‘keeper kept his position between the sticks for the final three games of the campaign, against Leicester City, United and Everton, and only conceded one goal as his team ended the season unbeaten in their final three.
Adrian had hoped this would be enough to give him an outside World Cup chance but it wasn’t to be and later in the same Interview, he reflected on a season of mixed emotions and looked ahead to what the future might hold.
“I like to play, I like to enjoy playing and I want to be the No1, but I have to deserve it as well, “If the team can help you with their defending as well, that’s much better.
“This past season for me has been a bit disappointing and frustrating at times, but I have one more year on my contract and we will see more when the season has finished.”
The man who is approaching the five year anniversary of his arrival in East London continued, “I hope that I can continue to show I am here to help West Ham, as I enjoy it here at London Stadium and I want to keep enjoying it.
“The West Ham fans welcomed me with open arms from day one and I feel their love every time that I play.”
The 2013/2014 Hammer of the Year runner-up has one year left on his contract in Claret & Blue and when he hasn’t been playing over the last few months, rumours of his departure have circulated.
Adrian has reportedly been close to leaving the club on numerous occasions in recent times, including during 2016/2017 when playing second fiddle to Darren Randolph for a period, although the horizon does appear to now be brighter for him at London Stadium.
He would have been one of a whole host of players and members of the Claret & Blue Army to welcome graciously the news that broke early on Tuesday morning surrounding West Ham.
The Hammers confirmed the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini as the successor to Moyes on a three-year deal after he left the Chinese Super League’s Hebei China Fortune over the weekend.
The former Premier League winner with the Sky Blues is more than the “high-calibre” name that supporters of the club were promised, having managed teams such as Real Madrid and led others, namely Villarreal and Malaga into the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League, winning titles and trophies worldwide.
Adrian and Pellegrini will know each other from their team’s facing off in La Liga in the early part of the ‘goalie’s career and one would think that the 31-year-old will be firmly in the 64-year-old’s plans to take the East London club to the next level.