Willy Caballero has extended his contract for another year and the experienced goalkeeper sat down with us to talk about his role at Chelsea, having fun at Cobham and helping get the best out of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Caballero has been at Stamford Bridge for two years now and has made 22 appearances in that time, as well as representing his country Argentina at last summer’s World Cup.
It was confirmed earlier today (Wednesday) that the 37-year-old will be remaining in west London for next season, so we used the opportunity to speak to him about experience, improvement and adaptation…
What do you see your role as in this squad Willy?
My role as a second goalkeeper is to create a good atmosphere training with Kepa because he has to play every single game. I try to help achieve the best level of Kepa, but also my best level to be ready in case anything happens. Also because I want to play, I don’t want to be on the bench. I am in a good team but as you know the Premier League is so complicated, played at such a high level, that to be ready for every game we must have great competition during the week.
Also, as an experienced player I have to do a little bit more inside the changing room. The season is very long and when bad moments appear we have to appear too to help the team to be focused on the next game, or to help the young players be ready. I am not talking about just me, I’m talking about all the experienced players we have in the changing room. We help a lot Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ethan Ampadu and the other young players.
Do you think you have improved as a goalkeeper in the past two years?
For sure. I have been talking with Hilario, the goalkeeping coach, and he saw in the last season very good improvement from myself. I am really happy for this because it means I have been working hard. If you just play games and show your performance sometimes you can realise how good you are. But if it’s for everything you do at the training ground every day, it’s good to receive this feedback because you believe more, you have more confidence, and when the opportunity appears you are ready.
How much do you enjoy working with the other keepers and the coaches?
During training we help each other a lot. We create a different mentality to the other players. As goalkeepers we grew up learning how it feels to play and not to play. And then when we have the opportunity to play we enjoy it a lot.
My first two years in England were so difficult because I couldn’t be me as a player in the changing room.
— Willy Caballero
And Kepa’s good start is proof your work behind the scenes is helping…
Yeah I think so, the way Kepa played showed us our competition and our way of training was really good during the season.
The adaptation of Kepa was fantastic, not just because of the games he played - he played a lot of games and he did well – but he’s very well adapted to Chelsea also, to this family, to this club. He’s also speaking very good English so I think he’s completely adapted.
And tell us a bit about your relationship with some of the other players, particularly the Spanish speakers…
The Spanish group is big! Even the Brazilians speak Spanish, two or three of the others speak Spanish. We have a lot of fun.
My first two years in England were so difficult because I couldn’t be me as a player in the changing room. Now since arriving at Chelsea I have felt more confident, and now I feel myself every single day. This is because we are having fun every single day, in English, in Spanish, in every language. I feel happy for this because I enjoy training more and more every day at Chelsea.