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'It's a statement to the board...
Soccer

'It's a statement to the board' | Cunningham feels Lampard's mind has been made up on Kepa

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

20:55 1 Aug 2020

Kenny Cunningham has said he thinks Frank Lampard has made up his mind on the future of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Chelsea boss left the 25-year-old Spaniard on the bench for their FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon, which Arsenal won 2-1.

Speaking to OTB Football Saturday ahead of the game, the former Republic of Ireland international said he doesn't see Lampard changing his mind.

"It looks as if the manager [Frank Lampard] has made his mind up. He's left him out during the course of the season.

"You could argue that he still has confidence in him - a young player, still developing, new league, he's going to stick with him, but the fact that he dropped him the other week for me, he was almost sending a statement to the board to say look I've made the decision, he's not good enough, you need to go and get me a new goalkeeper."

Kepa is just two years into a seven-year deal at the west London club and Cunningham seems impressed by the stance Lampard is taking here.

"It just shows you how maybe confident he [Lampard] is becoming.

"It actually surprised me a little bit because I looked at the areas of the pitch where they needed strength and I always felt I hadn't a huge amount of confidence in the goalkeeper but I thought Lampard wouldn't pick a fight with the board in terms of the goalkeeper, I thought he'd suck that one up and maybe look to invest in other areas of the pitch.

"Clearly, though he's made his mind up. I read a couple of comments from Peter Cech not too long ago and he was actually supporting Kepa, he was a big strong support of him saying no stick with  him, this lad is going to be top class.

"So for Lampard to come out publicly, although he hasn't said it in as many words, he's as good as said look he's not for me. He's put himself up against not just the board but also Cech in particular and it'll be interesting to see who actually wins that fight.

"I'd have to say though that I think he's right because if he's lost confidence in the keeper, if he doesn't believe the keeper has the personality, we can talk about his physical attributes, he doesn't make enough saves etc. etc., but I think a goalkeeper at a club like that it's about personality and a presence that you have on the pitch and off the pitch as well.

"Lampard's looked at him closely over the past year, given him some time, he's observed him from a close distance and eventually come to the conclusion, maybe a couple of weeks ago, that no, that's it, I've got to get him out, I've got to get a top-class keeper in here if we're going to have any ambitions of winning a league title.

"I give him a lot of credit for that. The easiest thing would have been to keep quiet but he hasn't and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out over the summer."

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Chelsea Frank Lampard Kepa Arrizabalaga

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