CECH AHEAD OF COMEBACK SCHEDULE
Petr Cech has been speaking about the surgery that has kept him out of match action during Chelsea's pre-season. He has also talked about months playing in pain.
Our Czech international goalkeeper underwent an operation on both shoulders as soon as possible after his country's elimination from the World Cup Finals. He travelled with the Chelsea squad to America and has been working back to full fitness ever since.
Speaking live as a guest on Chelsea TV's Friday night 'Big Match Countdown', Cech announced:
"I feel better and I am improving every day. I think I am making big progress forward so I hope to be on the pitch as soon as I can.
"I am a few days or maybe more ahead of schedule so hopefully I can keep going like this.
"I had both shoulders done. After the World Cup I had to undergo the surgery because I don't think I would have been able to start the new season. It was a big challenge to play World Cup because Czech Republic hasn't played World Cup for 16 years," he explained.
"It was a big event for us and once I had played to the end of the season, I wanted to carry on and play the World Cup."
It is a fact of professional football life that many players carry injuries for lengthy periods, unbeknown to the public at large until a suitable time arises to sort trouble out. In Cech's case, he was a whole 15 months with one of the shoulder problems — since the 2005 win over Barcelona at home.
"I injured myself in this game on the left shoulder and the last four months of the past season I hurt myself on the right. I played with the pain, it was always horrible to dive but I wanted to play so it was easy."
Maybe it should act as a warning to the rest of the Premiership that Cech's championship-winning displays last season were hampered by the injury. For the season ahead he will hopefully be back in full working order.
"I lost quite a bit of the range," he reveals, "so I had to practice more and find other techniques to catch the ball. But with all the work that was being done by [goalkeeping coach] Silvino and the medical team, it was still good enough to play."
by Paul Mason