David James believes Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is more flexible than any other Premier League shot-stopper.
Speaking to Sky Sports, James marked Kepa top of the class for nimbleness among his gloved peers.
The Spaniard showed off an array of sprightliness last night at Stamford Bridge.
He helped the Blues beat Aston Villa via a penalty shoot-out in the EFL Cup third round.
After a few neat saves in normal time, the 26-year-old stepped up to stop Villa’s third penalty, which ultimately decided the spot-kick saga.
It topped off a fine five days for Kepa, having already kept a clean sheet at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
Kepa is king of the castle
His recent stand-ins for Edouard Mendy have reminded many Chelsea fans there’s a £71 million (BBC) player beneath the surface.
“(Kepa’s) athleticism was beyond what I was looking at in the Premier League,” praised James.
“There are some goalkeepers in the Premier League, the likes of Alisson, the likes of Ederson, who are top drawer.
“Their all round game – Mendy now as we’ve seen him come into Chelsea – is so good. But Kepa’s athleticism and agility is beyond all these goalkeepers.”
That’s some statement suggesting Kepa is above the number ones at Liverpool, Manchester City and even his own teammate.
Alisson, Ederson and Mendy are arguably the three finest keepers in the Premier League.
At least one of them has won the Golden Glove award since 2018/19.
Had Mendy been signed sooner than last summer, he may have snatched the most recent prize from Ederson.
But, coming from the goalie who has the most appearances in Premier League history, it’s difficult to argue with James’ rationale.
“What you need to do as a goalkeeping coach is to get (Kepa) to get all the other stuff to a level where, when he’s called upon, he can produce those big saves,” continued the former England international.
“Penalties for me are something Kepa should be really good at because he’s got that athleticism.”
Luckily for Kepa, he has one of the game’s greatest goal defenders on his doorstep to help refine all areas of his repertoire.
Although officially titled technical and performance advisor, Petr Cech can probably still teach the youngsters a thing or two about stopping a flying ball.