This week, it’s been confirmed that Arsenal youngster Alexei Rojas will be playing for the Colombian national team’s youth ranks.
Despite being born in London and having a Russian mother, the goalkeeper has chosen his father’s roots and is now set to join his country’s U-17 squad.
The youngster, who used to be at Chelsea, had already given an interview to AS a few days ago, and now it was time for him to speak to El País about his career and his choice for Colombia.
“I want to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world and be in the senior team of Colombia”, he tells El País.
Rojas now revealed he was initially taken by Chelsea, and that’s when he started to have some admiration for Petr Cech. Then he could find his idol playing at Arsenal.
“In one of those games I was seen by a Chelsea scout, they invited me to a development centre, I was with them for three years, it was a nice time, but I didn’t stay because I never made my way to the club’s academy.”
“When I was at Chelsea I was able to chat with him, he gave me advice to improve in many technical aspects. Later, when I arrived at Arsenal, he was playing his last season as a professional; the club contacted us and he gave me a signed shirt.”
“I’ve been with Arsenal for two years. I’m in the U-15 squad.”
But there’s also another goalkeeper he inspires himself in, and that’s a Colombian compatriot who used to be his teammate at the Gunners. That’s David Ospina.
“He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world. I don’t share the criticisms that have been made when saying that he’s very short, he has shown why he’s had a great career.”
Now playing for Colombia for the first time, he aims some big things for the South American country.
“I hope to do things well in this opportunity given to me by the Colombian national team. I feel a better connection with the country and with Colombian culture than with English or Russian culture and I prefer Colombian football because it’s played with more gut, more spark and more heart.”