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“It’s not easy”- 26-year-old Chelsea ace opens up on being a backup player at the club

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Kepa Arrizabalaga is no longer the first-choice goalkeeper at Chelsea.

Kepa Arrizabalaga opens up on playing as a second choice goalkeeper at Chelsea

Speaking to Radio Marca (h/t Mirror), Kepa Arrizabalaga admitted that it is not easy playing second fiddle to Edouard Mendy at Chelsea. The Spaniard was demoted to second-choice last season and he spoke about the challenges regarding the role.

There were a lot of hopes pinned on the arrival of Kepa in 2018. After all, Thibaut Courtois had left and Chelsea needed an able keeper to take his place. Kepa looked like a good option after a solid few years at Athletic Bilbao. Chelsea went ahead and splurged a rather sizable amount to bring him to the club.

Kepa to start tonight against Krasnodar
Mendy displaced Kepa as the first choice goalkeeper at Chelsea.

However, Kepa looked far too shaky for Chelsea’s liking. He made trivial errors that ended up costing the side on quite a few occasions. Last season, Chelsea took the decision to sign Edouard Mendy and it paid off handsomely. The Senegalese keeper was a calm presence in goal and played an important role in their success.

Mendy’s arrival meant that Kepa was shunted to the backup keeper role. The latter has been called up to play occasionally but it has mostly been bench duties for him. He spoke about the challenges he was facing as a second choice goalkeeper but wanted to keep doing his best.

“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 helped Chelsea to win the Super Cup
Kepa helped Chelsea to win the Super Cup.

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For now, Kepa’s hope would be to play in cup games and maybe even a few games in the league. He has looked decent in the few games he has played recently and that surely bodes well for Thomas Tuchel. It might be harsh but Mendy has been far too reliable for the 26-year-old Kepa to be making any sort of comeback to the side.

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