The Blues icon is surprised to see a man who retired in 2019 make Frank Lampard’s Premier League selection, but appreciates why that decision was made
Petr Cech is capable of doing a job for Chelsea at 38 years of age, says Gianfranco Zola, with a shock inclusion in the Blues’ Premier League squad making plenty of sense when Kepa Arrizabalaga’s struggles are taken into account.
Frank Lampard has pieced together his selection for upcoming fixtures in the English top-flight.
There were not too many surprises in his 25-man party, but the inclusion of Cech certainly raised a few eyebrows.
The Blues legend headed into retirement back in 2019 after taking in a four-year stint at Arsenal, and has been filling a directorial role at Stamford Bridge for the last 16 months.
Chelsea have asked him to dust off his gloves and provide back-up between the sticks as serious questions continue to be put to their current options in an important position.
Cech is fourth in the pecking order and unlikely to be called upon, with Edouard Mendy now No.1 when fully fit, while Kepa and Willy Caballero fill support roles.
Zola, though, believes Cech, who has 494 appearances for the Blues to his name, could slot seamlessly back into the fold if he were to be required over the coming weeks and months.
“I’m totally surprised by that,” Chelsea great Zola told talkSPORT of Lampard adding Cech to his ranks.
“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.”
Chelsea moved to bring in Mendy over the summer after seeing £71 million ($93m) man Kepa – the most expensive goalkeeper in world football – allow costly errors to creep into his game.
Zola is surprised to see the Spaniard struggling so much, with the legendary Italian having formed part of Maurizio Sarri’s coaching team when big money was invested in a 26-year-old who should have become a long-term option in west London.
“I’m very surprised,” Zola added on Kepa’s form issues
“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.”