The career progression of Mikel San Jose has reached new heights, after the 25-year-old earned his first international start for Spain.
San Jose was signed by Rafa Benitez for Liverpool in 2007, but did not play a first team game, sent out on loan and sold to Athletic Bilbao in 2010.
The decision began to look like a hasty mistake just two years later, when San Jose featured heavily in the Bilbao side which reached the finals of the Europa League and Copa del Rey.
After a tricky follow-up campaign, San Jose and Bilbao bounced back last season to finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League.
A regular for the La Liga side, San Jose was called into Spain's squad for their midweek international friendly with France, and put in a solid claim as La Rojo search for a successor to Carles Puyol.
While the feats of the retired Barcelona hero may never be emulated, there remains a gap in the squad, and San Jose acquitted himself well partnering Sergio Ramos, with Gerard Pique out injured.
Spain lost the game 1-0 but there was little San Jose could have done about Loic Remy's long-range winner.
He completed 96 per cent of his passes, made six successful clearances and won two aerial duels and two tackles.
Spain have a more simpler, on paper, Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia next week, and San Jose will hope he did enough to retain his place. Having played all 90 minutes in the contest, the signs are good for the former Liverpool prospect.