Frank Lampard has defended Kepa Arrizabalaga from “unfair” criticism just days after dropping the goalkeeper from his Chelsea team for a third time.
Kepa’s place was given to Willy Caballero for Chelsea’s trip to West Brom on Saturday – which ended in a 3-3 draw – following costly mistakes in the Blues’ first two Premier League games of the season.
Lampard previously replaced Kepa in favour of Caballero for a run of games in February, as well as for their final three games of the 2019/20 season.
Chelsea also signed goalkeeper Edouard Mendy – who could make his debut in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie away to Tottenham, from Rennes last week, leading to suggestions Kepa may have played his last game for the club.
However, Lampard was keen to defend the 25-year-old, saying: “I certainly won’t go to the point of saying he’s played his last game for Chelsea.
“I think it’s been a difficult time for Kepa – I know it and he knows it. But we should certainly not jump to that conclusion.
“Also – and I felt quite strongly about this – we should understand that Kepa is a young man. A lot of the spotlight on him I think has become slightly unfair.
“I have to protect him because I know he’s a good lad, playing with absolute professionalism and trying to do the best he can.”