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Arsenal keeper Cech: How Casillas inspired me at 17

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has paid tribute to Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas.

Cech admits he took inspiration from the current Porto keeper when they were both teenagers.

He recalled: "Casillas started at Real Madrid when he was 16 or 17. He is only a year older than me and I thought 'if he can play at this age at 17, why can not I do the same?', with the certainty that everything is possible if you work hard and if you are prepared, you will have an opportunity to play, even if people think that a goalkeeper should be 30 years old.

"It's one of those examples that changes the culture a little bit. Buffon started at age 18, then came new goalkeepers like Iker or Pepe Reina, who was 18 when he was in Barcelona. I started playing in the Czech league when I was 17, so it helped to have the examples of those.

"People started to think about qualities rather than age, and the new generation has that advantage. Like other players, you do not expect to have experience until you are 30. If you are 18 and if you are good enough, you get in the team."

About the author

Paul Vegas

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