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Schwarzer: Kepa to be Chelsea number 1 for years

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Mark Schwarzer thinks it’s not inconceivable for Kepa Arrizabalaga to be Chelsea’s number one for 15 more years.

Kepa is famous for his explosive “misunderstading” of instructions with former Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri.

The incident saw the Spanish goalkeeper apparently refuse to be substituted.

But having said all that there is no denying he a phenomenal talent, and in goalkeeping terms, he is still very young at just 25.

He moved to Chelsea in the summer of 2018, for a huge world-record fee for a goalkeeper of 80 million Euros.

While he still has some way to go to make it to an Alisson Becker level. He is already pushing and on occasion ousting David De Gea as Spain’s number 1.

Schwarzer, speaking to The Athletic, seems to think Kepa is improving all the time and if he continues to put n the work he can be at the top and even at Chelsea for years to come.

He believes he is filling the shoes of some superb predecessors well.

He said:

“I think Kepa has grown, but it’s a massive step up from Athletic Bilbao.”

“There is always that added attention.”

“Chelsea over the years have had top, top keepers. Following [Petr] Cech and [Thibaut] Courtois is no easy feat for anyone.”

“It’s hard for anyone to compare with someone like Cech, who won every [club] trophy there is to win.”

“We can only really do that with Kepa 10 years down the line.”

“With Thibaut, he was there for a shorter amount of time. I was a big fan of his, but longevity is huge so Petr stands alone.”

But he feels given the player’s age, the future is very bright for him and his club.

He added:

“At 25, Kepa is very young in goalkeeping terms. He has a long way to go.”

“He could be there for the next 15 years easily – if he stays fit and continues to get better and better.”

The Australian shot-stopper, a former Chelsae player himself, feels that Kepa is under even more pressure this year, due to Chelsea’s defensive frailties.

He thinks things would be worse if it wasn’t for the young keeper.

He continued:

“When you’re conceding goals, it plays a big part on your mind as a keeper, even if you are not at fault.”

“The fact is you are the conductor, you are leading the guys, you are in charge of organising the line and you do feel responsible.”

“You feel it is a blemish on you and keepers are judged on how many clean sheets they keep.”

“Chelsea are conceding more goals this season but that is down to the set-up as well. It is hard.”

“You need a team to work well together, to operate as 11 defending, not just the back four and the keeper.”

“It is unusual to see Chelsea let in so many. But they are in a transitional period, there are inexperienced players learning their trade.”

“They are doing very well but part of the sacrifice is you’re leaving yourself more open and let opponents have more chances.”

“Without setting the world alight, I think Kepa has played well this season. It is going to take time. You have to stay confident.”

kepa arrizabalaga, david de gea, spain
VILLAREAL, SPAIN – JUNE 03: Kepa Arrizabalaga and David de Gea (R) of Spain warm up during the International Friendly match between Spain and Switzerland at Estadio de La Ceramica on June 3, 2018 in Villareal, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)