Player profile: Jon Aurtenetxe, left-back, Athletic Bilbao

Jon Aurtenetxe is Athletic's first choice left-back. Photo: PA

Name: Jon Aurtenetxe

Position: Left back

Born: 1992

Club: Athletic Bilbao

Country: Spain

As new the Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde evaluates his current charges, one man he'll be keen to keep hold of is left-back Jon Aurtenetxe.

The 21-year-old Basque has made the No.3 spot his own for the last two years after coming through the Lezama ranks, seeing off the more experienced competition of Koikili and Xabi Castillo.

A very defensively minded player, the full-back is a fierce tackler, and competitive until the final whistle, refusing to give up an inch to opponents.

Marcelo Bielsa chose the Spain Under-21 international to be his left-back, as he is the most energetic, allowing him to slot into the high tempo role in the Athletic line-up.

The Amorebieta-born defender thrived on the responsibility, but looked burnt out after a season playing Bielsa's way, and it wasn't a coincidence that Aurtenetxe missed the first two months of the 2012/13 campaign with a hernia problem.

Jon Aurtenetxe loves a good clearance. Credit:

Since getting back to full fitness, the defender has shown his importance once more - in a side not enjoying the same success as in the previous season - playing almost everything game from October onwards.

Due to his young age, he did occasionally make naive decisions when it came to diving into challenges, but he has quickly matured over time.

Aurtenetxe's discipline has improved, only picking up three bookings this season, compared to 13 the previous year, as he becomes a more rounded defender.

As Iker Muniain likes to drive infield from the left wing, Aurtenetxe repeatedly finds space on the overlap, where he can be dangerous, but is prone to make poor choices on the ball.

He does also have the ability to put a decent delivery when he finds himself in the final third, and is very good in the air, making him a danger at set-pieces.

In recent times he has added another string to his evolving bow by taking attacking free-kicks, but it looks like it will be some time before he becomes a regular scorer.

With over 80 club games to his name, Aurtenetxe is best left where he is, as he continues to learn the his profession, but if Athletic don't improve on last season's poor 12th placed finish, then he could outgrow the club.


Oh, and Jon Aurtenetxe too. Sick of saying this about Athletic players, but yes...another fatigued.

Aurtenetxe can be a touch fiery on the pitch. Credit: PA