Following his retirement from professional football, hanging up his gloves after four years at Arsenal, Petr Čech returned to his former club Chelsea, where he was appointed technical and performance adviser.
The 37-year-old is expected to ‘provide advice on all football and performance matters’ while also helping to ‘facilitate strong links’ between the academy and first-team.
Had Maurizio Sarri stayed at the helm, that role might not have been as prominent as it is now, as the Italian’s replacement, Frank Lampard, has embraced the youth at Chelsea since taking over, promoting the likes of Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori to the starting XI.
For Čech, those three are the ideal example of what the club wants to achieve going forward, as he explained to iSport in his home country.
He said: “We have a special department that takes care of the transition of talented young players to professional adult football. Loans are carefully selected, so as to benefit their development as much as possible, but it doesn’t stop there. They are constantly monitored during the loan, always visited and checked on by the club.
“Last year, Mason Mount experienced a fight for promotion to the Premier League with Derby, which is a huge experience and he’s now forced himself into Chelsea’s lineup. Just like the defender Tomori. The plan was for him to get ready with the first-team and leave on loan, but that took a different direction.
“He deserved to stay. Young people here don’t play because they are young, but because they deserve it. It’s all about how they are in their head, how much the kid is able to overcome obstacles and not be fooled by the rumour saying he already belongs to Real Madrid and not on loan.”
The goalkeeper also revealed he felt the ‘desire to constantly improve’ was the most important part of development and often was the basic precondition for success in the world of football.
He explained continued to learn under Unai Emery, even when he was well into his thirties and vastly experienced, and that’s the kind of attitude and hunger youngsters need.
Just look at Cristiano Ronaldo for example. He is the extreme example of what hard work, sacrifices and having ‘the desire to constantly improve’ can achieve.
Čech will be hoping many more in Chelsea’s academy follow the path Mount and Tomori are on, ending up benefitting Frank Lampard down the line.