Petr Čech returned to Chelsea last summer after hanging up his boots, to take up a newly created position that the club called (and still calls) Technical and Performance Advisor, but what is probably fairly analogous to a technical director. Chelsea haven’t had once of those since Michael Emenalo left in 2018.
In the year since, Čech’s exact role hasn’t really been clarified or explained, though that could be partly because the role is meant to be defined very broadly. The official description states that “he provides advice on all football and performance matters throughout the club” while Čech himself has described it as “connecting the departments” at the club (first-team, academy, loan army, scouting, recruitment) and making sure “all this works together”.
Recently, he’s added another department to his purview: training — specifically goalkeeper training. He’s been spotted a few times at Cobham lately, including overseeing Édouard Mendy’s individual training session. At one point he was even seen wearing his iconic rugby cap, which surely meant that he was an active participant and not just an observer.
In the following video, for example, we see Čech joining goalkeeper coaches Hilário and James Russell to set up the drill for Kepa Arrizabalaga and another goalkeeper who isn’t Willy Caballero (Nathan Baxter?).
Petr Cech getting fully involved in Chelsea's goalkeeper training session today pic.twitter.com/nzwRxhyKjl— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 24, 2020
Frank Lampard was asked about this development in his pre-match press conference yesterday, and he confirmed that Čech has indeed taken on a more active role in this department as well.
“Petr came to me and talked about it before he started training at first. We were sort of suffering with the squad and numbers and now Petr is training very regularly with the group. That can change at any time.
“[He] has his job but he’s also at times helping with the goalkeepers. Why would you not tap into having the best goalkeeper in the world, which he was for a long time, to pass on that knowledge?”
Why not indeed?
Having Čech around will obviously raise questions about the job Hilário’s doing, now in his second season as the head goalkeeper coach at the club, but Lampard (who may or may not still want a new man for that role) says the situation is not nearly as dramatic.
“With Petr, he had so much to give on that side of things. His daily job here is to be a technical advisor and he has been a great help to me on that front. That’s been brilliant for me being back at the club to have that.
“Having Petr train with the goalkeepers and bring his experience is a great thing. He still has great quality as he retired pretty young. He’s training and keeping fit, which I think is healthy for him and the goalkeepers in the squad.”
Well, we certainly won’t be registering Čech to play anytime soon — or use him to replace Kepa as the obvious social media meme goes — maybe his ice hockey gig dried up and he’s using this opportunity to stay fit, while also helping to improve all the Chelsea goalkeepers as a bonus.
And since Čech’s primary job is to make sure that all departments are on the same wavelength, it’s good to see him actively forcing that issue with regards to the goalkeepers as well — both in terms of training and making the call on Mendy.
“We are a tight-knit family here at Chelsea. It’s important that we’ve promoted that a lot. That was one of the things when I came back to the club. It’s not like I’m going to put my boots on and take part every day, but what we’re trying to do is make sure that the group is together.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Goal