Kepa Arrizabalaga and David de Gea could learn valuable lessons from world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, says Neville Southall.
Chelsea made Kepa the world’s most expensive goalkeeper in 2018 but he made the latest in a number of errors as the Blues went down 2-0 to Premier League champions Liverpool on Sunday.
The Spaniard is now set to be replaced as Chelsea’s number one, with Rennes keeper Edouard Mendy reportedly close to a £22 million move to Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea, meanwhile, has endured several difficult campaigns and is under additional pressure to retain his place between the posts following Dean Henderson’s return from a fine loan spell with Sheffield United.
Southall, who helped Everton to two league titles, two FA Cups and a European Cup Winners’ Cup success during a 17-year stint at Goodison Park, pointed out boxer Joshua – who was knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019 but reclaimed his belts six months later – as having the type of mentality top goalkeepers require.
“When you’re an experienced goalkeeper, you have a track record that everybody judges you against,” Southall said.
“De Gea’s suffered from that, most people do when you get to a certain age, which is weird because you’ve already proved you can do it.
“De Gea’s proved he can be close to being the best in the world, but everybody doubts his ability, which for me doesn’t make sense.
“It’s like Anthony Joshua proving he’s the best heavyweight in the world, because he’s got the belts, and then losing one fight.
“Yes, the defeat spoils things for a bit but he won it back. I think there’s a lesson in Anthony Joshua for all of those goalies – you might get a knockout blow, but you get back on your feet and you go and smash the rest of the world.”
When asked for his thoughts on Kepa’s predicament at Chelsea, Southall said: “Footballers are the prime ministers of the football world, aren’t they? Everybody hates you or everybody loves you, depending on what you do for them.
“Like a prime minister you live and die on your decisions. Sometimes you make good ones and sometimes they’re bad. The best goalkeepers make the least bad decisions.
“Kepa, he’s young. It’s a learning process for him, maybe this season he might do a little better. [Frank] Lampard maybe doesn’t seem to rate him that much, but he’s obviously got talent.
“He’s got to believe in himself and get better. If you’re having a bad time, the only thing is to relax, know what you’ve done wrong and change it. There’s no easy fix, it’s about confidence.
“If you’re not having the best of times and the manager isn’t picking you, it’s a double blow, but you’ve got to think what you really want. Do you want to show them that you’re better, what you’re really like? Chelsea haven’t got an exceptional goalkeeper at the moment. For me, I’d give him another season.”