EPL

Kepa: De Gea rivalry is healthy for Spain

By Sports Desk October 11, 2019

Kepa Arrizabalaga feels his battle with David de Gea to be first-choice goalkeeper can only be a good thing for Spain.

Chelsea keeper Kepa has started four of the national team's last five matches, with De Gea returning to the XI for the 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands last month.

De Gea endured a poor World Cup after a disappointing club campaign with Manchester United, but national team boss Robert Moreno recently stated he does not have an undisputed number one.

Spain take on Norway in Oslo on Saturday and Kepa is keen to earn a recall to the starting line-up.

"My goal is to play," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "All players want to be in the starting XI. I am obviously confident and want to help the team. 

"If I am one of the eleven chosen, my goal is to win a match that will not be easy against Norway.

"I feel good and I'm confident. It is true that I barely participated at the World Cup and now I'm able to help the team more."

Both players have staked a claim to start regularly and Kepa says rotation is to be expected.

"Whenever there is a debate over a position for the national team, it is a good thing - the beneficiary is the team," he said.

"Since the policy of rotating in the goal has become common, you have to trust yourself.

"All these comments in the press, I don't get involved in that, we simply have to do our talking on the pitch."

Kepa left Spanish side Athletic Bilbao for Chelsea in August 2018, in the process becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in world football.

The 25-year-old believes he has developed during his time in the Premier League and hopes to continue improving his game at Stamford Bridge. 

"I have matured as a person and as a goalkeeper," he said. "I have become accustomed to playing in a different way. 

"I'm now seeing more physical opponents, also of great quality, and I keep developing because I'm young."

Related items

  • Neville calls for Woodward to go as Man Utd woes deepen Neville calls for Woodward to go as Man Utd woes deepen

    Gary Neville says the state of Manchester United's squad is "unforgiveable" given the spending levels at Old Trafford and has called for executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to go.

    United lost to arch-rivals Liverpool on Sunday, a defeat far more convincing than the 2-0 result suggests, and are now 30 points adrift of the runaway leaders, who are closing in on their first top-flight title in 30 years.

    Neville, who won eight Premier League titles during United's reign of dominance under Alex Ferguson, is dismayed and angry at the club's slump and believes now is the time for the Glazer family, who own the club, to act.

    He told the Gary Neville podcast: "I can’t believe the investment that’s been put into the squad in the last five, six, seven years and you end up with that out on the pitch.

    "I saw a statistic two weeks ago that United have the second-highest wage bill in the world. And that’s the squad they’ve got. It’s unforgivable, it really is.

    "I can’t change the ownership of United, no one can. I’m struggling to understand why the ownership have persisted in trusting that management team to oversee the building of a Premier League title winning team since Sir Alex left.

    "If you don’t lose your job for essentially overseeing that investment, that wage bill, and putting that team out on the pitch then I have to say something is really wrong.

    "There’s real talent in that executive team but in terms of what the club needed to do for a number of years, it's put the best in class football operators into that club and they’re not doing it. They’re not doing it and it’s a mess."

    United are still operating without a director of football while doubts persist over the suitability of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    A long-term plan is required but Neville is not convinced the club have the personnel to carry it out.

    He added: "Somewhere in the background at United someone has to be plotting the downfall of Liverpool and getting back above them.

    "That’s going to take wise, smart, good people, and I’m not sure they’re there."

  • Struggling Wanderers sack coach Babbel Struggling Wanderers sack coach Babbel

    Markus Babbel has been sacked by Western Sydney Wanderers following a dismal A-League run.

    Wanderers were consigned to a third straight defeat by Perth Glory on Sunday and have still won just once since October.

    The club confirmed head coach Babbel's departure on Monday after 20 months in charge.

    "It is unfortunate that we have needed to take this course of action because we have a great relationship with Markus," Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer said in a statement.

    "However, we firmly believe that we have a great squad and the results are most definitely not reflective of the ability of the players at this club and certainly do not reflect the aspirations of the Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club. 

    "We have total faith in the group of players here at the Wanderers and look forward to pushing on with renewed vigour towards the finals series."

    Wanderers are ninth in the table with Jean Paul de Marigny taking temporary charge as caretaker coach.

  • Setien wants ruthless streak from dominant Barcelona Setien wants ruthless streak from dominant Barcelona

    New head coach Quique Setien was pleased with Barcelona's 1-0 victory over Granada in his first game in charge but wants to see his side be more clinical in front of goal.

    Lionel Messi's 76th-minute finish following an outstanding team move secured three points at Camp Nou on Sunday for Setien, who replaced Ernesto Valverde last Monday.

    Barca had 82.6 per cent of possession but struggled to break down Granada prior to Messi's intervention, prompting hopes from the incoming coach there will be improvement in the final third.

    "I think it was a 'good' [performance]," Setien said. "Maybe we lacked a bit of conviction in the first half. Granada defended very well, and it wasn't easy.

    "Furthermore, it was an unpleasant day, with wind, a dry pitch, and this stopped the circulation [of the ball].

    "I'm happy because we only conceded one shot in the first half and the shot that hit the post in the second half came from our loss [of possession].

    "I think we did a lot of things well and I hope that little by little we pick up fluency and improve in front of goal."

    Setien does not see a great deal of work for him to do in order to turn Valverde's side into his own, however.

    "I have seen many things from Barca that I want today," he said. "There are many things that this team has done well and will continue to do.

    "There are not so many things to change - perhaps just the rigour and discipline of maintaining the intensity for 90 minutes in order to not lose matches that you have won.

    "Today did not bring much in front of goal, but many things we have done well."

    The new boss is happy to be able to rely on Messi, too, adding: "It's what he's done his whole life. That's the reality.

    "There are matches like these that are deadlocked, without conviction and without inspiration, and he always appears in a great move in the end.

    "[It was] a great backheel by Arturo [Vidal to set Messi up]. This move came in the first half a couple of times and it didn't come off, but when it falls to Messi, there's a high percentage it will go in."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.