Arriving at Chelsea as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga has had a series of ups and downs between the sticks at Stamford Bridge.
The most recent of the latter was seeing Edouard Mendy bought from Stade Rennais, with the Senegalese shot stopper almost immediately supplanting him.
He’s had to make do with limited time on the pitch since, and it’s something he’s had to get used to, as he explained to Radio Marca in an interview.
He said: “Everyone wants to play. Everyone wants to be in the starting line up on Saturday and Sunday. For outfield players, there’s a chance of coming on, but the goalkeeper surely isn’t going to play. It’s not easy. The game days when you don’t play aren’t easy.
“You need to assume your role at that point. Help as best you can. During the week, on a daily basis, push to the maximum. Doing it for you, not for anyone else, just to be prepared. To keep improving and to be ready when given the opportunity or for any circumstance”.
Kepa Arrizabalaga en @RadioMARCA: "Los días de partido cuando no juegas no son fáciles. Tienes que asumir tu papel en ese momento, apoyar en todo lo que puedas. Durante la semana, en el día a día, empujar al máximo. Sobre todo para ti, no para nadie más, para estar preparado". pic.twitter.com/cuDchAeDFv
— Miguel Quintana (@migquintana) September 6, 2021
Despite admitting that being a substitute was often difficult, Kepa seems delighted with Thomas Tuchel on the whole, however, praising his group management during the interview.
He said: “It’s one of the secrets of the successes we’ve had. The team we have is filled with great players. Everyone wants to play in the most important games. Those who play, those who don’t play, there’s support. Those who don’t play, they’re pushing too. It’s a group that goes in the same direction, that rejoices in the success of his teammate and that helps when someone is not having a good time”.
During the interview, the player was also asked about his first few days as a Chelsea player following his expensive transfer from Athletic Bilbao, and Kepa was quite candid, explaining that he ‘didn’t know what to call’ his teammates during the first game.
He clarified that obviously he knew who they were, but didn’t know ‘what everyone’s name was in the locker room’.
As for his label of most expensive goalkeeper, he simply put it down as a ‘consequence of the transfer market’, and it’s something he ‘accepts’ and with which he has ‘no problem’.