Petr Cech’s decision to head into retirement at the end of the season has left Arsenal legend Bob Wilson stunned, with the 36-year-old told he may be walking away too soon.
Having enjoyed a 20-year career in which he exceeded all of his personal expectations, an iconic figure of the modern Premier League era has revealed that he is to hang up his gloves.
That decision has been taken after slipping behind Bernd Leno in the pecking order at Emirates Stadium.
He will head out of the Gunners fold with fond memories of his time in north London, and across the capital at Chelsea, but Wilson believes he could have still had many seasons left in him.
The former Arsenal keeper told talkSPORT: “I’m absolutely shocked, I’m truly in shock.
“Three weeks ago I went up to the training ground and I went over to see Bernd Leno and Petr, I watched the two of them and was very impressed. You could see no difference whatsoever between him and Leno, his reactions were absolutely up there.
“In my opinion, at his age it quite shocks me.
“Petr Cech is still capable of playing at the very highest level of the game, without any question.
“Of course he’s a modern day player so he’s not like Peter Shilton at 43, Pat Jennings retired on his 41st birthday, David Seaman was in his 41st year.
“He’s won a multitude of things with Chelsea and won the FA Cup with Arsenal as well, so the players of today are often in a position to retire and maybe not work for the rest of their lives.
“I’m really surprised he’s going as early as he is.”
Wilson believes there is a case to be argued for Cech still being first-choice for Arsenal, with Bernd Leno still adjusting to the demands of the Premier League and struggling to iron out faults when it comes to dealing with crosses.
“The sad thing for me is this: Due to the speed of the modern ball, modern goalkeepers are really, really dodgy when it comes to crosses,” added Wilson, who made over 300 appearances for the Gunners.
“But Petr Cech remains the best Premier League goalkeeper in helping out his defence by catching crosses.
“Leno is learning and he’s a tremendous shot stopper, but on crosses he punches, punches, punches.
“I’m at all the Arsenal home games and I’m pulling out my hair in that situation.
“What your defence needs is to kill that move and Cech does that with authority.”
Cech will be walking away as a four-time Premier League title winner and with five FA Cup winners’ medals, three League Cup successes, a Champions League triumph and Europa League victory to his name.