Kepa Arrizabalaga happy to bide his time in battle for Spain number one jersey

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is happy to bide his time as he battles with David De Gea for the Spain number one jersey.

Spain continue their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign away to the Faroe Islands on Friday, before hosting Group F rivals Sweden in Madrid on June 10.

Arrizabalaga maintains he has no issues working alongside Manchester United stopper De Gea and Pau Lopez of Real Betis as they all look to help La Furia Roja progress.

“We are three goalkeepers in the national team, have all been called up by (head coach) Luis Enrique and all three of us want to play,” Arrizabalaga said at a press conference.

“Obviously, the coach decides. In football you have to know how to coexist with praise and criticism, although sometimes they are disproportionate.

“I do not read or listen too much, though, all of us here are prepared, I am confident and if I had the opportunity, I would be ready.”

Arrizabalaga has four caps so far, keeping a clean sheet against both Malta and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The 24-year-old feels he works well alongside De Gea, who was first choice at the 2018 World Cup.

“My relationship with David is very good, this year we have shared the (same) league (in England),” Arrizabalaga added.

“We usually talk on the phone and we see each other.”

Arrizabalaga believes his first season in England has been “positive”.

Signed from Athletic Bilbao for 80million euro (£71.6m), Arrizabalaga became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper – and found himself in the spotlight following a fall out with Blues boss Maurizio Sarri when he refused to be substituted during the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.

“It has been a step forward in my career in every way, I have had to adapt to other conditions, to another country,” said Arrizabalaga, part of the Chelsea side which beat Arsenal to win the Europa League final in Baku.

“In the end I must say that it has been a positive year.”

The Torsvollur Stadium’s artificial surface could prove a challenge for Spain as they aim to secure a third straight qualifying win.

Arrizabalaga said: “We assume that Sweden is going to be more difficult but the conditions in which we are going to play in the (Faroe) Islands will make the match difficult, we will have to leave concentrated and not belittle our rival.

“We have two important games now after a long season for our goal to reach Euro 2020, they are important and we have to focus on them.

“We are working well and with confidence.”

Midfielder Santi Cazorla will be hoping for a chance to impress after a first call-up since November 2015 following a run of injury setbacks at Arsenal.

The Faroe Islands have lost both of their Group F fixtures so far, beaten 4-1 away to Romania in March, but have been defeated just once in their last five games at home.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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