Thiago Silva insists "age is just a number" and he is not worried about adapting to the speed of Premier League football following his move to Chelsea.

Chelsea signed 36-year-old centre-back Silva on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract at Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain.

The Brazil international is set to make his debut in the EFL Cup third-round meeting with Barnsley on Wednesday, three days before the Blues head to West Brom in the Premier League.

Silva is not concerned about being shown up in England's top flight, referring to Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti's statement that he would have signed Usain Bolt over James Rodriguez if he wanted a sprinter.

"I don't worry at all because I know where I want to get to. I really have high hopes about this young team," said Silva on his birthday on Tuesday.

"Physically, I feel really good – age is just a number on your documentation. Physically, I feel very young and I've been preparing my whole life.

"People who know me know I put 200 per cent into my work and this is a great opportunity that Chelsea and Lampard have given me and I really don't want to let them down.

"I never saw myself in the Premier League before, because I thought it was too difficult style of football. I didn't have any desire to play in the Premier League because my impression of the football played was of long balls, high balls and long shots.

"I couldn't really see myself playing in this league but over time I saw that it developed tremendously, there's a lot more technical quality. A lot of teams play with the ball on the ground, with the full-backs attacking in the area and every team has their own idea and strengths but I previously saw it characterised by long balls and that didn't appeal to me.

"I know how to play that way, but my preference is to play with the ball on the ground. I know my quality, little-by-little, the Premier League football really won me over. Anyone who knows me, knows that.

"At 36, I am arriving to play in one of the best championships in the world. This is usually a league of young players but I am coming here as an older player and I see it as because Frank Lampard and Chelsea want a player of my experience.

"If someone wants a runner, then I refer to the words that Carlo Ancelotti used for James: 'If you want someone to run, they can sign Usain Bolt'.

"With my experience and the young players here, I hope to help them in this new adventure."

Frank Lampard has no doubts Kai Havertz will thrive for Chelsea, but insists the Germany youngster must first get up to full fitness.

Havertz arrived in a reported £72million (€80m) deal from Bayer Leverkusen, though he has so far failed to spark into life at Stamford Bridge.

After an indifferent display in his debut against Brighton and Hove Albion, Havertz struggled to impose himself on the game as Chelsea went down 2-0 to Liverpool on Sunday.

Yet Lampard has no concerns over the 21-year-old, who he suggested is not fully up to speed.

"Kai has played various positions in career, as number nine, number eight and a number 10," Lampard told a news conference.

"He played lots off the right for Leverkusen and I have my own vision going forward.

"The key now is getting him fit. Kai, with the situation we are in we aren't in a position where we can wait. We need to get him fit, and it'll become very clear why he's here."

Chelsea spent close to £200m bolstering their squad heading into this season, though injuries have left Lampard without some big names. 

Havertz and Timo Werner have featured in both of Chelsea's league matches, but Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva have yet to play, while Christian Pulisic has also been out.

However, Lampard confirmed he will be able to welcome back two of those players for the EFL Cup tie with Barnsley on Wednesday, with Chilwell and Silva, who celebrated his 36th birthday on Tuesday, set to be included.

"Chilwell is in the squad for tomorrow, Pulisic and Ziyech are getting closer," Lampard added.

"[Silva] is in the squad for tomrorow, so not sure if a present or not for him – he's getting fit, in the squad and I'll make a decision on how many minutes he may get in the game, what's best for him."

Edouard Mendy is having his medical with Chelsea ahead of a proposed move from Rennes, Frank Lampard has confirmed.

The Blues are said to have struck a deal in the region of £22million with the Ligue 1 club for the goalkeeper as Chelsea look to add competition for the under-fire Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Mendy is reported to have agreed terms on a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

"Mendy is having a medical as we speak, subject to that being okay later on he will become our player at that point," Blues boss Lampard told a news conference ahead of Chelsea's EFL Cup tie with Barnsley.

Kepa, a £71million signing from Athletic Bilbao, found himself in and out of the team under Lampard last term and his position again came under scrutiny after a costly error in Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Premier League champions Liverpool.

Lampard was asked if the arrival of Mendy could actually end up being a good thing for Kepa.

"Yeah, I don't know what benefits anyone in the long run, football is always in your hands and how you work going forward," he added. 

"Competition is always important at Chelsea. Mendy is in for that competition, it's an area Kepa himself wants to improve in his own performance. 

"It's in everyone's interests to try and improve. I'm not making any final statements on anyone at the moment, football isn't like that."

Lampard also revealed how Blues great Petr Cech, now Chelsea's technical director, was influential in the Mendy deal having starred between the posts during his career.

"Petr was important in that with it being the goalkeeper position," Lampard said of Cech, who also signed from Rennes in 2004.

"Cech was best in the world in that position for a while so he had a big say in that, I lean heavily on him when it comes to goalkeepers day to day, planning for the future, he's very influential." 

Lampard, who says he understands Mendy will not have to quarantine so long as he tests negative for coronavirus, sympathises to a point with goalkeepers like Kepa trying to rebuild confidence.

"It is the hardest position because of the individual nature of it and mistakes get punished with goals," Lampard said.

"I understand that and as a manager I have to be sympathetic to that point. I am very aware of that."

Jadon Sancho may eventually leave Borussia Dortmund for a new challenge but will not do so in this transfer window, director Sebastian Kehl reiterated.

Sancho has been heavily linked with Manchester United but the Premier League club have reportedly not met the €120million (£108m) asking price for the England forward.

Dortmund have been firm in insisting Sancho is going nowhere and Kehl doubled down on that stance.

"Jadon has trained well and professionally," Kehl told Ruhr Nachrichten. "He is happy to play football.

"Yes, someday he might leave for a new challenge but right now he is happy at Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Dortmund is happy to have him.

"He is here - and he will stay here. It was an important statement from the club because we have a certain responsibility. Without Jadon, this team is worse."

The Opta data from last season supports Kehl's statement that Dortmund are inferior without the former Manchester City man.

Sancho's 17 league goals trailed only Robert Lewandowski (34) and Timo Werner (28). Thomas Muller (21) was the lone player to have more assists than Sancho's 16 in the Bundesliga.

He was seventh in the league in chances created, crafting 69 opportunities for Dortmund last season.

Dortmund began the 2020-21 Bundesliga season with a 3-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach, Sancho providing an assist in his 78 minutes on the pitch.

Fabinho was "a monster" in Liverpool's 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea on Sunday, according to Alisson.

With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip injured, Fabinho moved into the centre of defence alongside Virgil van Dijk and was on song at Stamford Bridge, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp describing his display as "outstanding".

The Brazilian was key to helping the visitors keep a clean sheet that was preserved by compatriot Alisson saving Jorginho's penalty.

While Sadio Mane scored a double, it was Fabinho's work at the other end in keeping Chelsea newcomers Timo Werner and Kai Havertz quiet that most impressed Alisson.

"He was a monster," Alisson told the club's official website. "Unbelievable, but it's what I expect of him.

"If it's a surprise for you I would be surprised, because he is a top player. Anywhere he played, from number six or centre-back, he always does his best and his quality permits him to play in different positions.

"He's a really smart player on movements and also one-v-ones. That was needed against Werner, against Havertz and the other players with really good quality, so I congratulate him as he was in my opinion man of the match."

The game in west London proved to be a far more straightforward outing than Liverpool's season opener against newly promoted Leeds United, in which Klopp's men left it late to secure a dramatic 4-3 win at Anfield.

It means the Reds have kicked off their title defence with back-to-back victories, with Arsenal their next opponents in the top flight on Monday.

The United Kingdom government has paused plans for the return of fans to live sporting events in England from October 1 due to the rise in coronavirus cases.

On Monday, the COVID-19 alert level in the UK was raised to a four, meaning transmission of the virus is "high or exponentially rising", with prime minister Boris Johnson set to outline fresh measures to halt the increase in cases.

Plans to bring supporters back into stadia were placed under review earlier this month and pilot events were restricted to 1,000 people in attendance.

However, government minister Michael Gove confirmed to BBC Breakfast on Tuesday that pilot schemes were now on hold, as are plans for fans to return in staged phases, representing a major blow to a struggling sports sector.

"We were looking at a staged programme of more people returning – it wasn't going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans," Gove said.

"We're looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme, but what we do want to do is to make sure that, as and when circumstances allow, get more people back.

"The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but again it's in the nature of major sporting events that there's a lot of mingling."

Sport has been taking place mainly behind closed doors in the UK since it returned following a full lockdown in March.

Approximately 300 spectators were granted access to the World Snooker Championship final at the Crucible in Sheffield, while a friendly between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea in August saw 2,500 fans allowed into the Amex Stadium.

But Gove said the decision has been taken in part due to the criticism the government received for allowing full attendances to sporting events in March, when COVID-19 was posing a growing threat.

The decision to allow the Champions League last-16 match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid to go ahead brought scrutiny with Liverpool council probing the impact it had on the spread of the disease, while there is pressure to look into whether the Cheltenham Festival should have been permitted to proceed at full capacity.

"People look back now at the beginning of the pandemic at some of the major sporting events then and ask the question why were they allowed to go ahead," added Gove.

"What we must do is look at sporting events now with caution but we also recognise that sport is a vital part of this nation and we're looking at everything we can do to support our athletes, our great clubs, through what will be a challenging time."

The latest development comes at a time where the sports industry continues to count the cost of the global pandemic.

Over 100 leaders from sports bodies have requested emergency funding in a letter to the prime minister.

Sport England has handed out £200million for emergency cases, but with clubs continuing to lose money many have said that does not go far enough.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told the BBC earlier this month that teams were looking at losing £700m if fans are not allowed back into grounds during the 2020-21 campaign, saying it was "absolutely critical" they were brought back.

Real Madrid and Liverpool reportedly lead the race for Kylian Mbappe if the France star decides to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, 21, is contracted at PSG until 2022, making his future a talking point heading into next year.

It seems the France international's future lies at one of three clubs.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID, LIVERPOOL LEAD RACE FOR MBAPPE

Mbappe's future will be decided next year and the forward will be at PSG, Real Madrid or Liverpool, according to L'Equipe.

The World Cup winner has been heavily linked with Zinedine Zidane's Madrid previously, while Jurgen Klopp's Premier League champions have also reportedly been interested in the past.

The report says Liverpool and Madrid are in regular contact with Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- Luis Suarez is set for a Barcelona exit, but the forward's next club remains unclear. Sport reports Suarez has an agreement with Atletico Madrid, apparently for two seasons, but Barca are said to be intending to block him joining a direct rival for free.

- Manchester United could strengthen as soon as this week. The Guardian reports Porto left-back Alex Telles hopes to seal a move to United this week and it says the Premier League club are hoping to get the 27-year-old's price down to £23mllion (€25m).

- With Kepa Arrizabalaga again coming under fire, Chelsea are set to welcome a new goalkeeper. RMC Sport reports the Premier League club have finalised a deal worth £22million (€24m), plus £5.5m (€6m) in bonuses, with Rennes for Edouard Mendy.

- Staying at Chelsea and N'Golo Kante is reportedly wanted by Inter. Corriere dello Sport reports Inter coach Antonio Conte wants the midfielder, but a €50million (£45.9m) asking price is unthinkable for the Serie A club unless Christian Eriksen or Marcelo Brozovic are sold.

- There could also be movement at Real Madrid. EFE reports Luka Jovic is pushing for a return to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan after struggling in his first season with the LaLiga giants. Meanwhile, Marca says former Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has been offered to Madrid.

- While Suarez may arrive, Atletico Madrid are also considering their transfer options. AS reports they are waiting for offers for Diego Costa, while Marca says the LaLiga club need to see a player leave before potentially signing Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira.

Pep Guardiola hailed Kevin De Bruyne's influence upon an injury-ravaged Manchester City squad after he starred in Monday's 3-1 win over Wolves.

Guardiola headed to Molineux with seven senior players unavailable but his team turned in a sparkling display against opponents who beat them twice last season.

De Bruyne was City's star man, winning and converting a 20th-minute penalty before having a hand in goals for Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus.

"Since we came back after the games for the national teams, every training session he has incredible commitment," Guardiola, who saw Raul Jimenez briefly reduce the deficit in the 78th-minute, told a post-match news conference.

"Right now he is an incredibly important player for us. He always was, but in the situation we are in right now, it is so important.

"He took an incredible penalty, he took it perfectly. Then there is the amount of assists, how he runs. He played really well, like all the team.

"He likes to play football, he doesn't feel the pressure and likes to compete at a high standard."

Ilkay Gundogan's positive test for coronavirus compounded Guardiola's selection problems heading into City's opening Premier League game of the season, with Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Eric Garcia all injury absentees.

Aymeric Laporte only returned to training last Friday following his own COVID-19 positive, although John Stones and new signing Nathan Ake were assured for the most part in the centre of defence.

Guardiola confirmed a team predominantly made up of academy players will launch City's bid for a fourth consecutive EFL Cup against Bournemouth on Thursday, with Leicester City up next in the Premier League on Sunday.

"Most of them are for after the [October] international break," he said when considering when asked when the injured players might return. "After that they’ll be ready.

"Laporte is not injured but he had just one training session in two months. Eric Garcia had 16 stitches, that is why he is not here but maybe for the next game he will be fit.

"The others I think after the international break – Joao, Bernardo, Oleks and Sergio will be longer.

"This is the situation. Maybe in the next days it will change a little bit."

The strain of those considerations appeared to be weighing upon Guardiola during a largely terse briefing, but he still found time to praise Foden, who made a goalscoring return to club action after being banished from the England squad earlier this month for breaching coronavirus protocols in Iceland.

"He played really well," he added.

"Apart from scoring the goal, in the first half he was not much involved. In the second half he played incredibly well.

"Since day one he trained really well. In all the time he played with us, if we decide to play five minutes or 90 minutes it doesn’t matter.

"He has a big impact and makes great contributions to the team. Today was not an exception."

Kevin De Bruyne was already looking towards another title tussle with Liverpool after Manchester City won at Wolves, adding that team glory ranks above his personal exploits despite a standout performance.

City won the Premier League in 2017-18 and 2018-19, holding off the Reds down the home stretch in the latter season, but then relinquished their crown to Jurgen Klopp's team last term.

Liverpool registered six points from the opening two matches of their title defence before Pep Guardiola's men even took to the field, with City making a late start due to their involvement in the Champions League in August.

However, De Bruyne broke the deadlock at Wolves on Monday, had a hand in Phil Foden's second and then, after Raul Jimenez halved the deficit, supplied an assist for Gabriel Jesus in stoppage time.

The reigning PFA Players' Player of the Year, who created six chances in all, did not shy away from the challenge before City.

"It's obviously hard," De Bruyne told Sky Sports. "It's a little bit of a weird season, but we know we have to start well.

"Wolves have been a bit of a bogey team for us in the last couple of seasons, so to come here and do this performance is encouraging, because we're missing a few players.

"I think the team played really well. The only thing we really can do is play game by game. We know Thursday [Bournemouth in the EFL Cup] is another one and we'll try to do our best.

"We know if the pace is the same as the last three years, it's going to be a hard job. We want to fight against [Liverpool], we need to fight against them.

"I think we make each other better and that, for me, is what sport is all about."

De Bruyne had 20 league assists last season, tying Thierry Henry's record, and was awarded his first of the new campaign after tackling Willy Boly before Jesus netted.

Yet individual statistics are of little concern to the midfielder, who has also scored 14 times since the start of last season - his 35 goal involvements the most of any Premier League player in that time.

"I don't know if my output is going to be more," he said. "I'm perfectly happy with the way the second goal goes. That's why we have so many attacking players - so I can slot them in and they can do the rest.

"I would prefer to have five goals and five assists and go away with the title. You can contribute in a lot of ways.

"I'm a midfielder, I know these days it's a lot about statistics, but I try to set myself [the goal] to play the best that I can for the team.

"Obviously, if I have good numbers, it's going to help myself, it's going to help the team. But even if I play badly, I need to try to contribute in one way or another. That's what I'm trying to do."

Speaking to Radio Catalunya in 2017, Pep Guardiola took a self-deprecating tone when considering his feted coaching reputation.

You see, life is easy with Lionel Messi in your dressing room.

"The greatest advantage of having Leo is that the other 10 players know they have Leo on their team and that sooner or later he will do it," he said.

"I was his coach and we were planning and I thought, 'We will get the ball to Messi and that's that, we will score.'"

At the start of this month, it briefly looked like Guardiola would be able to unfurl this approach at Molineux in Manchester City's Premier League season opener against Wolves.

Of course, Messi concluded an exit from Camp Nou was not viable and a fantasy football tonic to a dispiriting 2019-20 in east Manchester was taken off the table.

Nevertheless, during Monday's impressive 3-1 win over opponents that have tended to give his team fits, Guardiola settled on an update of his old template.

Get the ball to Kevin De Bruyne and that's that.

Okay, so this is a simplification of the sparkling display City put on to get their Premier League title bid up and running.

John Stones was in from the cold alongside new signing Nathan Ake in a silky-smooth centre-back pairing - or was it a pairing? Rodri dropped in from midfield to play in between them at times during the first half, with Stones taking opportunities to join attacks down the right flank.

Captain Fernandinho enjoyed himself back in the midfield role a defensive shortfall denied him last season, and everything in front of the veteran Brazilian was all whirring, flashing, frictionless movement.

Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden were as tenacious out of possession as they were in it.

But it was PFA Players' Player of the Year De Bruyne who stamped himself all across what quickly became a pulverising opening 45 minutes for the hosts.

All the shifting plates in Guardiola's 4-2-3-1 seemed designed to put De Bruyne in the areas of the field where he can cause damage. Which, all things considered, amounts to a fair amount of turf.

Take the combination of athleticism and opportunism that saw him put down the throttle and chase Foden's pass to draw a brainless foul from Romain Saiss. Rui Patricio guessed correctly but De Bruyne struck the 20th-minute penalty sumptuously.

After the half hour he nipped into a pocked of space behind the Wolves midfield to release Sterling, who set up Foden for number two.

There was De Bruyne again, forcing a fine save from Patricio after he tore onto Jesus' flick-on, like the archetypal box-to-box midfielder.

Soon afterwards there was a devilish whipped cross from out on the touchline and, even as City's level dropped and they flirted with throwing away the sort of points they frequently fumbled last term, De Bruyne regularly carved holes in Wolves, working through the repertoire that makes him the most complete footballer in the division.

Since the start of 2019-20, the Belgium superstar has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other player, thanks to 14 goals and 21 assists. He created more chances (six) and had more shots on target (four) than any other City player on Monday.

Nevertheless, De Bruyne's team-mates are still without the serenity Guardiola claimed for Messi's old colleagues. Around the hour, when Adama Traore had the shackles of his right wing-back brief loosened and Stones became reacquainted with his lackadaisical side, a clatter of Wolves chances came and went.

The impressive Daniel Podence had the audacity to nutmeg De Bruyne before setting up Raul Jimenez's nicely placed 78th-minute header.

Despite paying the price for attempting the dirty work on that occasion, the 29-year-old contested a team-high five tackles and gained possession nine times - no City player did so more frequently. He covered 11.58 kilometres at an average speed of 7.12 km/h.

It was no surprise, therefore, to see which player bustled in between a hesitant Wolves defence to set up Jesus for the game-clinching goal.

Get the ball to Kevin De Bruyne and that's that.

Kevin De Bruyne was typically influential as Manchester City survived a tough second half to defeat bogey side Wolves 3-1 in their Premier League opener at Molineux.

Pep Guardiola's side - aiming to reclaim the title they lost to Liverpool last term - were featuring for the first time in 2020-21 due to their involvement in the previous campaign's Champions League knockout stage.

But City made up for lost time in a dominant first 45 minutes on Monday as De Bruyne capitalised on a rash challenge to break the deadlock from the penalty spot, before Phil Foden added a stylish second.

Wolves, who did the double over City last season, enjoyed a better spell after the break and belatedly netted through Raul Jimenez, yet De Bruyne's tackle in the final seconds allowed Gabriel Jesus to strike a deflected clincher.

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Alex Runarsson from Ligue 1 club Dijon in a deal reportedly worth just over £1million (€1.1m).

The Gunners were left short of a back-up goalkeeper after Emiliano Martinez left to join Aston Villa last week.

Martinez had impressed at the end of last season and helped Arsenal win the FA Cup and Community Shield, but left for Villa Park in search of regular first-team football.

With Bernd Leno now the undisputed number one, 25-year-old Runarsson has been brought in to serve as deputy.

"We want to create healthy competition for places and we look forward to seeing Alex bring further depth to the goalkeeping position," said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

Runarsson, an Iceland international, will wear the number 13 shirt.

Arsenal's technical director Edu added: "We're very pleased to welcome Alex to our squad. We have been monitoring him for some time and from the analysis, he has strong attributes that we look for in a goalkeeper and as a person."

The Gunners have picked up where they left off from last season, winning both of their opening Premier League fixtures against Fulham and West Ham respectively.

Thiago Silva says he has joined Chelsea with the goal of winning the Premier League title, not just for the experience of playing in England's top flight.

The centre-back, who will turn 36 on Tuesday, signed a one-year deal with the option of a further 12 months after leaving Paris Saint-Germain.

Silva is excited to play in the Premier League for the first time in the latter stages of his career, but is clear that his motivations stretch beyond just getting a taste of the high-profile competition.

He is optimistic Chelsea will enjoy an impressive season that can lead to silverware, while playing in the 2022 World Cup for Brazil also remains a key motivation.

"The way I see it, it is the toughest league in the world, with six or seven big teams genuinely fighting for the title so the motivation is massive," Silva, who spent eight years with PSG with his last game being the Champions League final, said to Chelsea's website.

"What motivates me, day by day, is the hunger to win. To win everything within my reach.

"Coming to the Premier League, my main goal is to win the league title and I'm certain that we'll be fighting for that every step of the way. 

"The team is really strong, we've got a great coach and I've come here to contribute in whatever way I can to ensure that we get as close as possible to achieving those aims.

"That's what motivates me: stepping out onto the pitch, and then winning, winning, and winning some more. I don't think about anything else.

"What Chelsea represents to me is a source of great happiness and motivation to be a part of a new project, a new family and I hope that this will be a very special year together.

"With our young group, as well as some more experienced players like our captain [Cesar] Azpilicueta, we've got all it takes for a great season. We've signed some top players.

"You can be sure I will do everything I can to repay the confidence [Frank Lampard has shown in me] out on the pitch."

Silva continued: "The prospect of playing at the next World Cup is another thing that really drives me.

"I'll be more or less 38 years old by the time of the next World Cup and I'm hugely motivated to be in good shape for it.

"The work that I'm putting in to make this a reality already started a while back and now Chelsea have given me a great opportunity to continue playing at the highest level."

Asked if he had a message for the Chelsea fans, Silva added: "I'm arriving 100 per cent motivated for this new project - I'm not just here for the experience, I'm here to win. 

"I hope that they believe, just as we do, that this is going to be a very special year and one full of success for the club."

Neville Southall believes Kepa Arrizabalaga and David de Gea could learn valuable lessons from world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Chelsea made Kepa the world's most expensive goalkeeper in 2018 but he made the latest in a number of errors as the Blues went down 2-0 to Premier League champions Liverpool on Sunday.

He is now set to be replaced as Chelsea's number one, with Rennes keeper Edouard Mendy reportedly close to a £22million (€24m) move to Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea, meanwhile, has endured several difficult campaigns and is under additional pressure to retain his place between the posts following Dean Henderson's return from a fine loan spell with Sheffield United.

Southall, who helped Everton to two league titles, two FA Cups and a European Cup Winners' Cup success during a 17-year stint at Goodison Park, pointed out boxer Joshua – who was knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019 but reclaimed his belts six months later – as having the type of mentality top goalkeepers require.

"When you're an experienced goalkeeper, you have a track record that everybody judges you against," Southall told Stats Perform News.

"De Gea's suffered from that, most people do when you get to a certain age, which is weird because you've already proved you can do it.

"De Gea's proved he can be close to being the best in the world, but everybody doubts his ability, which for me doesn't make sense.

"It's like Anthony Joshua proving he's the best heavyweight in the world, because he's got the belts, and then losing one fight.

"Yes, the defeat spoils things for a bit but he won it back. I think there's a lesson in Anthony Joshua for all of those goalies – you might get a knockout blow, but you get back on your feet and you go and smash the rest of the world."

When asked for his thoughts on Kepa's predicament at Chelsea, Southall said: "Footballers are the prime ministers of the football world, aren't they? Everybody hates you or everybody loves you, depending on what you do for them.

"Like a prime minister you live and die on your decisions. Sometimes you make good ones and sometimes they're bad. The best goalkeepers make the least bad decisions. 

"Kepa, he's young. It's a learning process for him, maybe this season he might do a little better. [Frank] Lampard maybe doesn't seem to rate him that much, but he's obviously got talent.

"He's got to believe in himself and get better. If you're having a bad time, the only thing is to relax, know what you've done wrong and change it. There's no easy fix, it's about confidence.

"If you're not having the best of times and the manager isn't picking you, it's a double blow, but you've got to think what you really want. Do you want to show them that you're better, what you're really like? Chelsea haven't got an exceptional goalkeeper at the moment. For me, I'd give him another season."

Mings signs new Villa deal

September 21, 2020

England defender Tyrone Mings has renewed his contract at Aston Villa until June 2024.

Mings initially joined Villa on loan from Bournemouth in January 2019, helping to secure their promotion back to the Premier League.

The 27-year-old made the move permanent before the 2019-20 campaign and continued to impress - earning his maiden England cap in a 6-0 Euro 2020 qualification win over Bulgaria in October last year.

Mings penning fresh terms completes a productive few days for Villa.

Influential playmaker Jack Grealish agreed a new five-year contract last week before they signed goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal and Lyon forward Bertrand Traore.

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