Gabriel Slonina’s stance offers Potter Chelsea hope after Mendy & Kepa praise
Gabriel Slonina has provided a boost to Chelsea boss Graham Potter as the goalkeeper reflects on his opening months at the club and discussed the competition between Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy.
The 18-year-old was among the goalkeepers when Chelsea faced Fulham in a west London derby in January, being named as the third choice despite not making the matchday squad.
This saw Slonina experience the Stamford Bridge pitch for the first time as he warmed up infront of the Blues faithful, with Marcus Bettinelli absent from the travelling squad.
After arriving from Chicago Fire at the beginning of January, Slonina won’t have expected to displace Champions League winning goalkeepers Kepa and Mendy, but is instead keen to learn from the pair.
The youngster became the youngest goalkeeper to play for the USA this month, making his debut for the national team against Serbia and has returned to Cobham to hand Potter a boost.
Speaking to the official Chelsea website, Slonina’s eagerness to learn and play for the Blues was clear.
Head coach Potter will be impressed with the attitude of his new recruit, who revealed that he is keep to wear the Chelsea shirt no matter what squad he is part of.
“Wearing a Chelsea shirt and playing with whatever squad is always going to be an amazing experience and the boys there are lovely,” he said.
“Right away I felt part of the team, part of the brotherhood so it’s really good.”
The shot-stopper continued to heap praise on Kepa and Mendy, who he believes he can learn from, as well as discussing who his footballing icons are – including a Chelsea legend.
He continued: “I studied the greats like Petr Cech, Peter Schmeichel, Edwin van der Sar, David Seaman, all those guys that are icons of the game and always will be.
“From the modern game, Manuel Neuer was really big for me. I would always watch his highlights and what he could do with the ball. He was so comfortable being like that sweeper-keeper.
“I watch every top keeper – Edouard Mendy, I would watch his highlights. Kepa, I would watch his highlights. Ederson, how he can build out from the back line. Honestly, I try to take something from every single goalkeeper and try to use what I can to make me better.”
Chelsea have been linked with FC Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa, Brighton’s number one Robert Sanchez and Brentford’s David Raya but they have an up and coming player in their own ranks.
Slonina may be one for Potter to keep an eye on, with an eagerness to learn and feature for the club no matter what squad he is part of.