Chelsea goalkeeper Rob Green believes that Kepa Arrizabalaga has been good for the club during his first season. The Spaniard arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer and had big boots to fill as he had to serve as the replacement for Thibaut Courtois, who joined Real Madrid last summer.
The 24-year-old was a first-team regular for the Blues this season and went on to make 36 appearances in the Premier League. Kepa, however, attracted scathing criticism for an incident during the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City in February when he refused to be substituted for Willy Caballero. Sarri was seemingly wanting to bring on veteran Caballero, who is known for his ability to save penalties, for a fatigued Kepa ahead of the penalty shoot-out – but the youngster refused to go off.
He was criticised for his actions and some feel that he lacks maturity. Some even went as far as to suggest that he should never have played for the club again due to the disrespect he showed to Sarri as well as to the club at large. Kepa still flaws in his game that he must rectify, but it is certainly a good sign if the experienced Green is saying positive things about him.
“Kepa for his first season in the Premier League has had a fantastic season, and one that he will get stronger off the back of,” Green told chelseafc.com.
“The demands. He’s a young guy. The amount of football he has played, all of a sudden he has gone into a season where he has played probably 50 games, more than 50 games. And it’s not just the games themselves, he’s going away for internationals, he’s travelling all round Europe to play these games.
“And the intensity of the games, and the spotlight of the games is far greater. He has managed that and maintained his performance throughout. His talent was there – it doesn’t take an expert to see that. But I think what don’t you realise when you’re out of it is the demands it has on someone who is still a young lad.”