Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno says he can learn a lot from Petr Cech as the duo waits to find out who will be Unai Emery’s No. 1.
However, he is hoping a new system with a higher back line could give him an edge over the Czech veteran. Leno says Emery has yet to inform him or Cech who will be first choice this season and added that it’s “crazy” to battle a goalkeeper he grew up admiring for the starting spot.
“I have to look at myself and work very hard to be first choice,” Leno told reporters following Arsenal’s 5-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday. I don’t know [who will start.] I do my best, and at the end, the coach decides.”
Leno started that game, with Cech rested, and the German said he is well suited to a system with intensive pressing and a higher back line, which Emery wants to deploy.
“The way we passed it against PSG is the way the coach wants us to play,” Leno added. “With a goalkeeper, you have one more player and it’s the way I want to play.
“When the defence is a little bit wider or higher, I need to close the space. Of course there’s a lot of risks but the coach wants that we close the space. In Germany we played the same with the space very high, so it is nothing new for me.”
Leno also reflected on his previous battles with Cech, having played against Chelsea for Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League back in 2011.
“I really admire him,” Leno said. “I can remember my first [Champions League] game when I was 19 was against Petr and Chelsea. After the game, he came up and said it was a good game for me.
“It was seven years ago and now we are together at Arsenal. It’s crazy. Petr had a big career with many trophies and he’s still a big goalkeeper and big personality.
“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.”