Since Thibaut Courtois' injury, Chelsea backup goalkeeper Asmir Begovic took over the no.1 spot between the posts. He's been doing a good job, in general, although his team haven't been helping as much as they could to make his job easier. Begovic's abilities go beyond the pitch as well, as the Bosnian international seems to be a calm influence in the dressing room (he does have more experience not winning all the time, after all!) and is very good at interviews, always having a good way with his words in stark contrast to the Blues' current state of affairs:
"That's what football is, a very short-term game. A couple of things go your way and you start getting a couple of results, you get a good feeling, and it goes from there really."
"It snowballs one way or the other. When it goes in a negative way, you've just got to try keep working hard to turn it around, and you sort of need that plug to make it happen."
Begovic arrived at Chelsea to fill a place usually reserved for long-time serving players such as Henrique Hilário, with a real possibility that he could see out the rest of his peak as a footballer by being just a backup to Courtois. But, looking at it from a different angle, he could have taken the easy choice and stay at the Britannia Stadium, but instead he chose the greater challenge:
"I was very comfortable at Stoke, and I feel like I needed something to get me going again. That's the decision I made, I took the biggest challenge, the biggest option, the biggest club, the biggest pressure, and it's something I feed off."
"So far it's been challenging, but it's what football is about."
Begovic was born in what is today the very southern end of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but he spent a good chunk of his childhood living in Germany and Canada as his family left the former Yugoslav state due to the wars that dismantled the region in the 1990s. He eventually settled in England after impressing Portsmouth coaches with his performances of Canada U17. But he has not forgotten his roots, and to this day, he still reminisces over his parents' difficult choice to flee their home country:
"[In Bosnia] we've all had families who've struggled through war and different experiences... when your life gets ripped apart. My family had a very good life in Bosnia."
"My dad was a professional footballer, my mum was studying to be a lawyer, then next second you go to a country where you don't know the language, don't know anyone. My parents had it very difficult."
"As you get older you think, ‘Man, what my parents and family did'. It wasn't a very difficult decision, just what had to be done to guarantee a better life."
"But when you're in war-type situations nothing is guaranteed, things can look very bleak."
Peace has slowly returned to the region over the last couple decades, and many Bosnian who had left previously can now safely return home or at least go to visit. The national football team's matches provide a good reason for many to do so.
"I know many stories from people coming from Australia, America to watch these games. The fans are very passionate, very proud of their country, and it's something we feed off."
"It's a very special atmosphere - you don't get that passion all the time - but the whole city feels the vibe a couple of days before the game."
-Asmir Begovic; source: The Independent
Although Begovic will probably return to the bench after Courtois completes his injury recovery, the backup has shown on and off the pitch how capable he is as a Chelsea player and Chelsea representative. Hopefully he will remain influential at the club, even when the limelight isn't on him.