Kepa Arrizabalaga’s adaptation to the demands of goalkeeping in the Premier League has won the approval of Chelsea coach Carlo Cudicini.
Chelsea made Kepa the most expensive keeper in football history when they met an €80million release clause to prise him from Athletic Bilbao in August.
The 24-year-old has been an ever present in the Premier League for Maurizio Sarri’s side this term, conceding only 16 times in 21 appearances.
Cudicini, now a member of fellow Italian Sarri’s backroom staff, moved to Chelsea from Castel di Sangro in 1999 and went on to play in England’s top flight for more than a decade – joining Tottenham in 2009 before departing for LA Galaxy in 2012.
“It’s kind of the same thing as for Maurizio. Especially for a goalkeeper, the Premier League is a different way,” he told reporters.
“I do remember when I first joined here and obviously it was a big difference, with the physicality and the speed of the game.
“It’s a completely different way of playing the game. I think he’s adapted really well.
“He was straight in, he didn’t have a lot of time to get used to this football but he’s coping very well. We are all very happy about his performance.”
Garaipena etxetik kanpo urtea ixteko!
Victoria fuera de casa para cerrar el año! pic.twitter.com/vETfAFLjfG
— kepa Arrizabalaga (@kepa_46) December 30, 2018
The Blues face Spurs in the first leg of an EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday, with Sarri chasing the first major honour of a celebrated coaching career that lacks silverware.
“I don’t know if we’re talking about pressure but it’s always important to win the first trophy of the season,” Cudicini said.
“You have the chance to win it in February and it can help to then have an even better end of the season.
“A trophy’s a trophy. We all, as a club, consider all the trophies to be important and we have the chance to reach the final and go all the way, so we want to do well.”
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