Bernd Leno sends warning to Petr Cech over starting spot

BERND LENO has already battled with Petr Cech – twice.

Posted Monday, July 30, 2018 by

Bernd Leno sends warning to Petr Cech over starting spot

It was in 2011 when his former club Bayer Leverkusen took on Chelsea in the Champions League group stage.

Leno was on the losing side at Stamford Bridge, 2-0, but back in Germany he came out on top with Leverkusen winning 2-1.

Now the pair are team-mates at Arsenal following the 26-year-old German's £19.3million move and they are about to do battle again for a place in Unai Emery's starting line-up.

Leno said: "Petr had a big career with many, many trophies and he's still a big goalkeeper and a big personality.

"But I have to look at myself and play my game, work every day, very hard, to be the first choice of the coach.

"I will learn a lot working with him every day. He has big experience and played many games. I have a lot of experience too, but he has much more, so I can learn from him.

"He is a goalkeeper I admired when I was growing up. I can remember my first game in the Champions League, when I was 19, was against Petr. After the game he said it was a good game for me.

"It was seven years ago and now we are together at Arsenal, it's crazy."

Away from football, Cech is a passionate musician who loves playing the drums.

But if Leno's initiation performance was anything to go by he will not be recruited as lead singer for the Czech's band anytime soon.

"Maybe you saw the video of me when I had to sing," added Leno, smiling. "It was a German song - it was quite bad."

Thankfully his goalkeeping is better and after a quiet game in the friendly against Atletico Madrid last Thursday, where he did not have a save to make, he was called into action properly against Paris Saint-Germain two nights later as Arsenal won 5-1 in Singapore.

Leno said: "It's exciting for me, I like the team, I like the club and I like the way we play.

"The way we passed it on Saturday is the way the coach wants us to play. With a goalkeeper you have one more player and it's the way I want to play."

What is clear is the high defensive line Emery wants his side to play, meaning Leno must be comfortable in the role of sweeper-keeper when he needs to be.

He said: "When the defence is a little bit wider or higher, I need to close the space.

"Of course, there are a lot of risks but the coach wants that, we close the space. I did it in Germany too, so it's nothing new for me."

Leno and his girlfriend have moved into a hotel in London while they find a home and he says he is excited to discover the city properly.

But the true excitement will come on a matchday, with many tipping Leno to be first choice even if he is refusing to give anything away.

Asked if Emery had told him or Cech who is going to be No.1, Leno said: "No. I don't know. I do my best, I work every day very hard and at the end the coach has to decide."

Cech has been around long enough to know he has another battle on his hands.

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