Former Chelsea star Gianfranco Zola is certain that Petr Cech can still perform for the Blues at the highest level after the retired shot-stopper was included in the club’s Premier League squad for the season.
The inclusion was initially seen as a mistake but the club confirmed that his inclusion was correct. It can be recalled that Cech returned to Chelsea last summer in a managerial but has now become a player again.
Cech is currently serving as Chelsea’s technical and performance adviser but will provide emergency cover in the goalkeeping position which includes the likes of Edouard Mendy, Kepa Arrizabalaga, and Willy Caballero.
“Petr Cech has been included in the squad as emergency goalkeeper cover,” read a club statement. “This is a precautionary step due to the unprecedented conditions currently caused by the COVID-19 crisis. He takes up a position as a non-contract player.”
Although he has been included, it’s very likely that he may not play any part on the pitch this season. However, with Chelsea’s recent challenges in the goalkeeping department, this can’t be completely ruled out.
Regardless, Gianfranco Zola believes that the 38-year-old will perform even if he’s forced to play a part on the pitch at any point in time.
“I’m totally surprised by that,” Zola told talkSPORT Breakfast about the surprise decision. “At 38 he is, especially for a goalkeeper, at an age where nowadays it is quite normal.
“Petr has got unbelievable ability and experience, but I don’t know the condition of his body right now to be honest.
“But with his experience and ability as a goalkeeper there is no doubt he can do it.”
Cech’s inclusion in the squad is further proof of how Frank Lampard’s trust in Kepa has waned. The goalie was the subject of another error in the Premier League game against Southampton.
Frank Lampard went on to confirm new signing Edouard Mendy as Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper after the draw against Sevilla, casting more doubts on Kepa’s future at Stamford Bridge. Zola went on to express his surprise over Kepa’s poor performances.
“I’m very surprised,” added Zola. “I know he is very young and he came to Chelsea for big money and that is a big burden to carry on your shoulders, and in a way this is probably affecting him.
“I could understand a little bit of difficulty, but this is going beyond what was expected and it surprised me.
“And I am sorry for the boy because he is a good boy and a good goalkeeper.
“He has to pick himself up and do what he can do and show people he is different, because I believe he has got potential.”