Nacho Fernandez is eager to seize a rare chance to impress for Real Madrid in Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Malmo.
The versatile defender, 25, has only started five previous games in the competition but will be given a chance tonight in Sweden with Pepe and Sergio Ramos both ruled out by injury.
And with Sunday’s league derby date at Atletico Madrid rapidly approaching, a good performance tonight would help soothe nerves over his ability to face Los Rojiblancos if necessary.
Nacho has become a utility man since graduating from the club’s youth system, appearing in both full-back positions and in central defence when the need has arisen.
He said: “I am prepared for what the coach wants, and I take advantage of all of the opportunities that he gives me.
“Maybe it’s not the ideal role, but I always do the best that I can. Against Malmo I want to deliver a good performance, win the game and leave with a clean sheet.”
Manager Rafa Benitez, meanwhile, has called upon his players to spread their goals across the squad to relieve the burden on Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
Benitez said: “It’s only a matter of time until we score – Cristiano is a guarantee of goals. But we have to increase our accuracy and raise the numbers of Isco, Jese and the other players in the second line, and so we don’t depend so much on Cristiano or Benzema.”
Benitez is likely to rotate his squad tonight, with Casemiro and Mateo Kovacic likely to start in midfield.