Mendy: I love working with Cech – but I hope we don’t need him!

Edouard Mendy says it is a “pleasure” to be working with Chelsea legend Petr Cech day in, day out, but is confident the veteran’s services will not be needed this season.

Cech, the club’s technical and performance adviser, was pivotal in bringing Mendy from his former club Rennes to Chelsea for £22million last month.

The former Czech international has also been training with the club’s goalkeepers and was last week named in Frank Lampard‘s 25-man squad for the season despite retiring last year.

Having been tracked by the Cech for the last few years, Chelsea made the move to land Mendy following Kepa Arrizabalaga’s continued slump in form, and he is now relishing working with the 38-year-old.

Cech’s main duties are off-field – but he has been named in the Blues’ Premier League squad (Getty Images)

“It’s just an absolute pleasure to be with him every day,” said Mendy. “To work with him and particularly in training it allows me to watch how he works and to analyse his game. So it’s a wonderful bonus for me being here. But in terms of him playing, I think we already have three very good, competitive goalkeepers and that should be enough for us.

“I have been aware that Petr Cech has been watching my matches for a number of years. It is very pleasing to hear that he has been watching me and saying that he liked my profile and the way I was performing.

“So after the season with Rennes, the offer came in from Chelsea and it is a great pride for me to join this club. Thanks to Petr and Christophe [Lollichon, Chelsea’s goalkeeping coach,] for following me but it is clear that everyone here approved my signing. Petr has followed me for many years and played a particularly big role in the transfer. Now it is up to me to repay their interest in me, having brought me to the club.”

Working alongside a Premier League and Champions League winner in Cech, who made the step from Rennes to Chelsea himself when he joined the Blues, could not have felt further away for Mendy back in 2014.

Christian Pulisic reacts to Chelsea’s draw against Sevilla

Without a club and with little hope, Mendy took unemployment benefit in France after being released by Cherbourg at the age of 22, during which time his partner became pregnant.

The Senegal international returned to his former club Le Havre simply to train while he decided what to do with his career, considering giving up completely, before being offered a trial with Marseille’s B team. Having failed to make the grade there, Mendy joined Stade de Reims in Ligue 2 before beginning his rebuild, via Rennes, to become Chelsea’s number one. But his year of battling will never be forgotten.

“When I was unemployed and receiving benefits, it is true that it was really tough for me,” said Mendy. “I knew it was something that I needed but getting that money also meant I didn’t have a club and didn’t have that competition every weekend.

“It was also incredibly frustrating because I knew month after month it would be the same and I didn’t know when that would end. It was incredibly stressful, I was going to become a father and I just didn’t have any real visibility on my future.

“What I did was take refuge in my work, I gave the best of myself every day in training and when I went to the gym I made sure I did everything I could to jump higher and be stronger, run faster, so when that opportunity arose, I would be the complete goalkeeper. That is what happened when I did get my chance in the end. It was one year of my life that was very, very difficult.”

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