Frank Lampard does not expect to have to call on Petr Cech this season with the retired goalkeeper only in Chelsea’s Premier League squad in case of an emergency, though insists he is in excellent shape and ready to contribute.
The 38-year-old’s name was a shock addition to Chelsea’s squad list, which was announced on Tuesday, with the Czech having been spotted in training several times over the summer and this season.
Chelsea confirmed that his presence in the squad was only as ‘emergency cover’ and was a ‘precautionary step due to the unprecedented conditions currently caused by the Covid-19 crisis.’
In addition to Cech, Chelsea still have three senior goalkeepers on their books: summer signing Edouard Mendy, world’s most expensive keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and veteran Willy Caballero.
The Senegalese shot-stopper was between the sticks for Tuesday’s draw with Sevilla, overcoming his injury, and Lampard says it can only benefit Chelsea’s keepers to be around Cech even if he never actually sees any pitch time.
Speaking after the match, Lampard said of Cech’s inclusion in the Premier League squad: ‘Yeah Pete’s been training with the goalkeepers for a little while.
‘He spends a lot of days with them, which is invaluable for his experience, helps us in training, helps me to know that he’s passing on that quality and experience to the goalkeepers.
Asked what shape Cech is in, and how likely he is to play, Lampard continued: ‘In terms of where Pete is at, yeah he’s fit. He’s very fit.
‘He’s still relatively young, Pete finished playing possibly when he could have kept carried on playing. He’s taken on his role at Chelsea, which he does very well and is very helpful to me and we work very closely together.
‘But he trains very regularly, he’s fit and whether we’ll see much of him this season I’m not sure. As I mentioned before, it depends on how the season goes with Covid and isolation.
‘We felt – or certainly I felt – that it was a no-brainer to have Pete in the squad for that reason.
‘And it also helps me that he trains every day, when he’s in such good form it can only help the goalkeepers we have to see one of the world’s best in recent years, in the modern era, amongst us.’
He added: ‘With Pete it’s something that I wouldn’t expect to happen this year, but I do know with the way he is and how fit he is, if we were in crisis times then of course you couldn’t ask for something much better than having Petr Cech around. So I don’t expect it, but nobody expected what we’ve seen in the last six or seven months around the world.’