Petr Cech admits to having felt a little rusty on his return to competitive action, after 565 days in retirement, but feels he rediscovered his “match system” during a surprise comeback outing for Chelsea.
The veteran goalkeeper, who is now 38 years of age, was back between the sticks on Monday as he figured in a Premier League 2 clash with Tottenham.
Cech’s last appearance prior to that had come in the 2019 Europa League final, when he brought the curtain down on a distinguished career at Arsenal.
Upon hanging up his gloves, a move into a directorial role was made at Stamford Bridge.
It appeared as though a four-time Premier League title winner had laced up his boots for the last time, but a stunning U-turn has been performed this season.
Amid Kepa Arrizabalaga’s early-season struggles for form, Willy Caballero not getting any younger and Edouard Mendy being drafted in from Rennes, Cech was added to Frank Lampard’s squad as fourth-choice keeper.
He is not expecting to see any top-flight action in 2020-21, with his selection purely precautionary, but a return to the field has been made away from the spotlight.
Cech did take a while to find his bearings against Spurs, with an uncharacteristic error leading to the opening goal of the night.
Chelsea were, however, to battle back from falling 2-0 down to claim a 3-2 win, with their veteran shot-stopper thoroughly enjoying the experience.
He has posted on Instagram: “565 days after what I thought was my last game in professional football I had the opportunity to be back on the pitch.
“It felt so strange for the first 20 minutes as my ‘match system’ I used to have while playing regularly was missing but as the game went on the feeling returned, ‘match system’ reappeared and it was great to have that special feeling again.
“Well done to my team-mates for turning the game round! It was great to get the win and three important points to go top of the league!”
Chelsea’s senior side will be back in action on Tuesday when they take in a trip to Wolves.
Mendy will be expected to fill the No.1 spot for Lampard’s side in that contest, with the Senegal international having kept nine clean sheets through 14 appearances for the Blues.