Frank Lampard impressed with Kepa Arrizabalaga’s reaction to losing his place
Frank Lampard has hailed goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s reaction to being dropped at Chelsea.
Spaniard Kepa has battled with patchy form this term and veteran Willy Caballero stepped in for the 2-2 Premier League draw at Leicester on February 1.
Kepa could regain his starting berth for Monday’s league clash with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge though, with boss Lampard impressed with his conduct since missing out at Leicester.
“I wouldn’t say it was a jolt, I wasn’t looking for that necessarily,” said Lampard, of Kepa missing the Leicester draw.
“I think I spoke around the Leicester game, and have to pick it as I see it. It was just a selection on the day.
“Obviously there’s a bit more to it with goalkeepers, but I want everyone’s reaction all the time to be spot-on.
“Every player has it. I had it in my career many a time. You have to show character in those little moments. And I’ve been pleased with his reaction.
“The reaction has been good as I’d expect. He’s been training hard and has had his head down. So there’s a decision for me to make.”
Chelsea paid a world record fee for a goalkeeper, £72million in August 2018, to recruit Kepa from Athletic Bilbao.
The 25-year-old has struggled for any consistency this season, with a host of rumours circulating about Chelsea looking for a replacement in the summer.
Lampard proved he had no hang-ups about benching Kepa despite the price tag attached to the high-profile keeper.
The former midfielder insisted he will not let player values affect his selection judgement.
Asked if it is difficult to weigh up not starting Kepa given his transfer status, Lampard replied: “If it did then I’d have to pick the team on how much they cost.
“All the players know it doesn’t matter how you came to the club, what part of your career you’re at.
“I don’t take that into account, it’s all about how you train in the week and how you play on match day.
“I deal with the players as it feels right at the time. I try to be open and straight with them. They respect that, I certainly did as a player.”