Antonio Rudiger insists Thibaut Courtois is a distant memory as Kepa impresses

David Cooper 12/08/2018
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Chelsea’s new record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga impressed team-mate Antonio Rudiger in their opening-day Premier League win at Huddersfield.

Kepa, the world’s most expensive goalkeeper after his £72.1million move from Athletic Bilbao on Thursday, had little to do on his debut as Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 victory in Maurizio Sarri’s first game in charge.

But German defender Rudiger was pleased the Spaniard’s first appearance passed without incident following Thibaut Courtois’ controversial departure to Real Madrid.

“I think he (Kepa) did well,” Rudiger said. “He tried to speak as much as he can. He did well with that and we as defenders we needed to help him and we did that.

“In general, it was a very good day. We all know Thibaut’s quality, but Thibaut’s not a Chelsea player anymore.

“I wish him good luck at Real Madrid, but now we have to concentrate on Kepa because he’s our goalkeeper. In his work he’s very confident.”

Chelsea were found wanting in last week’s Community Shield defeat to Manchester City, but proved too good for Huddersfield despite leaving World Cup stars Eden Hazard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Olivier Giroud on the bench.

“We’re happy because to be honest our pre-season games were not that good,” Rudiger said. “But today we can be more happy because we won the game. Three goals and a clean sheet. That’s good for us.

“It’s not always easy to adapt because it’s a new style of play, but I think we did well. We moved the ball well and to have a good bench is always good.”

Huddersfield had given as good as they got before going behind to N’Golo Kante’s scuffed 34th-minute volley.

The Terriers were then dealt a major blow just before half-time when Chelsea were awarded a penalty for Christopher Schindler’s sliding tackle on Marcos Alonso.

Summer signing Jorginho converted in trademark style from the spot, feinting during his run up to send Huddersfield debutant Ben Hamer the wrong way and stroking the ball into the opposite corner.

Cheeky: Jorghino's penalty against Huddersfield

Cheeky: Jorghino’s penalty against Huddersfield

Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie’s header had hit the inside of a post as David Wagner’s side responded well to Kante’s opener before Pedro drove home the third goal after being set up by second-half substitute Hazard.

“We had a very good first half, but we know that Chelsea, when you face a team like this, they are very clinical,” Mounie said.

“You have to use your chances and (luck) wasn’t on our side unfortunately, so we keep going and keep working, it’s only the first game.”

Mounie took exception to Jorginho’s cheeky penalty, adding: “It was weird.

“He jumped before the penalty and Ben (Hamer) had already dived so I don’t know why the ref didn’t make him retake the penalty.

“It was a little bit weird. The ref needs to explain that to us because I don’t understand why (it was not retaken).”

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Man City defender Jason Denayer turns down chance to go out on loan

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Jason Denayer featured for City in pre-season against Liverpool.

Manchester City defender Jason Denayer has refused two opportunities to go out on loan in a bid to secure a permanent move to Galatasaray, the Daily Star reports.

The 23-year-old centre-back spent last season on loan with the Turkish giants while Leeds and Celtic have both been trying to sign the Belgian on a temporary basis this summer.

The Sky Blues youth graduate has his heart set on a switch to the Super Lig side, however, the stumbling block at the moment is Denayer’s prospective fee.

Galatasaray have lodged a bid of around £3 million for his services but City are holding out for more cash.

It is likely some form of agreement will be reached before the end of the transfer window, given the defender is surplus to requirements at the Etihad Stadium.

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Could personal training plan for Jack Wilshere at West Ham pave the way for England return?

Andy Sims 12/08/2018
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Jack Wilshere will be given a personal training plan at West Ham in order to keep him fit and pave the way for an England return.

The midfielder is set to make his Hammers debut at Liverpool on Sunday after joining his boyhood club on a free transfer from Arsenal.

Wilshere’s injury record cost him a place at this summer’s World Cup, but new West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is confident he can bring out the best in the 26-year-old.

“He was very unlucky in some seasons with so many injuries, but he continued being a different player,” said Pellegrini.

“As a manager you can work a lot of different ways with a lot of different tactics, a lot of different systems, but if you don’t have good players it’s impossible to be a good team.

“Jack, in the 10 years that he played for Arsenal, he’s a different player. So if the injuries respect him, alone he will make the difference.

“We are always talking to him. Maybe he will not work exactly the same as the rest of the squad.

West Ham have made a flurry of summer signings, including Felipe Anderson.

West Ham have made a flurry of summer signings, including Felipe Anderson.

“But I am not scared about that because the last two seasons he played a lot of games. At Bournemouth and at Arsenal, he didn’t have too many injuries.

“He’s a young player and he knows his body and I hope that he will be fit for most of the season.

“Every day we have the players on the GPS and we know the most amount of metres that he does before he has a rest. So that, with the fitness coach and the sport science, will manage his work.”

Asked if there is hope for the midfield schemer to get back into the international fold after his summer snub, Pellegrini added: “Can he be an England player again? I think so, yes.

“The technical players make the difference and Jack is the special player that makes different things. So if he continues playing every weekend his performances will be better and I’m sure that he will have an option to return to the England squad.”

Pellegrini held talks over the vacant Liverpool job in 2010 but he has no regrets, having instead enjoying success with Malaga before guiding Manchester City to the title in 2014.

“My career of course would have been different if I was in Liverpool,” he added.

“But I am so happy about my career. It was not Liverpool but it was Manchester City when I came here to England after three years with Malaga, three beautiful years.

“Liverpool is a great club but I also had the options to manage some very big clubs.”

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