Adrian is relishing every moment he spends with the Spanish national team after earning his first call-up for La Rioja.
The West Ham United goalkeeper was rewarded for two-and-a-half seasons of consistently impressive performances by receiving a call from new Spain manager – and fellow goalkeeper – Julen Lopetegui.
The 29-year-old has spent the past week training alongside David de Gea, Pepe Reina and Spain’s star-studded outfield squad, and was on the bench for the 2-0 friendly win over Belgium in Brussels on Thursday.
Adrian looks set to be among the substitutes again when Lopetegui’s side kick-off their 2018 FIFA World Cup Group G qualifying campaign against Liechtenstein in Leon on Monday evening, but the Seville-born stopper is not in the mood to let not making his senior international debut get him down.
“I had to go abroad to find myself, and through a lot of sacrifice and hard work, I've gotten the [national team] call-up,” he told Spanish newspaper Marca. “It is twice as hard to make it into the national team if you play abroad, especially if you aren't playing for one of the big clubs where there is a lot more scrutiny.
"When you play in a large club [in Spain] you have more impact. If you play abroad the effort you need to make to be noticed is twice as big. In these three seasons in the Premier I have been at a high level and produced some good performances, so I was hoping that this moment would come sooner or later.”
Unlike many international footballers, Adrian did not spend his formative years playing age-group football for his country.
Instead, he worked his way steadily through the ranks at Real Betis Balompie, playing for the C and B teams before making his first-team debut at the age of 25 in September 2012.
A year later, he was on his way to east London, and the ever-smiling Spaniard has since become fans’ favourite for his penchant for making spectacular saves, and scoring an FA Cup shootout-winning penalty against Everton in January 2015.
"I am very pleased and happy,” he confirmed. “It’s been a long journey from my debut at Betis to coming to England three years ago. My name has always been there in the limelight and now Lopetegui has given me the opportunity.
“I want to seize it and vindicate it every minute I have on the pitch.”
When he returns to Rush Green later this week, Adrian will find the Club’s Spanish-speaking contingent has grown in his absence.
The former Real Madrid and Spain full-back and 2010 World Cup winner Alvaro Arbeloa has joined the Hammers on a one-year contract – a move the goalkeeper has warmly welcomed.
“It is good to have another Spaniard at the Club and I'm sure he'll contribute to us having a phenomenal season,” Adrian observed. “I don't know him personally and haven't spoken to him yet, but I'm happy to have another Spanish teammate here!”