Chelsea fans - and, indeed, the wider football community - were left stunned this week when news filtered through that Petr Cech had been registered as a player for the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.
Cech, 38, retired from football in the summer of 2019 following a four-year spell with Arsenal.
He then returned to Chelsea to work as the Blues’ technical and performance director.
Cech was filmed joining in with training earlier this month but little was made of it at the time.
It was presumed that Cech had been asked to participate by Frank Lampard in an attempt to help the unconvincing Kepa Arrizabalaga rediscover some confidence.
But Cech is now available for selection for all of Chelsea’s remaining Premier League fixtures this season after he was included on the club’s 25-man Premier League list.
The legendary goalkeeper is not expected to feature - summer signing Edouard Mendy and Kepa are ahead of Cech in the pecking order as things stand - but there’s still a chance that he will play.
This means it’s imperative that Cech trains hard and keeps himself in top physical condition in case Lampard needs him.
Following Cech’s shock return, it was reported that the veteran ‘keeper had ‘amazed’ Chelsea’s players and staff with his performances in training.
Meanwhile, new footage of Cech on the training ground has emerged.
He’s still looking very sharp, as you’ll see, despite his advancing years…
Here's some reaction to the footage from fans...
No wonder Lampard thinks it was a ‘no-brainer’ to bring Cech back into the squad.
“Pete’s been training with the goalkeepers for a little while now,” Lampard told Chelsea’s website. “I think that was pretty much common knowledge, and he is training a lot of days with them which is invaluable for their experience.
“It helps with their training and it helps me to know that he is passing on that quality and experience to the goalkeepers. We had a space in the squad, we know this year looks like no other because of Covid and what it might do to selection and isolation through the year, so it was a very easy decision. Pete still does his day job but he is there if we need him.
“He is very fit, he is still relatively young, he probably could have carried on playing,’ Lampard continued.
“He has taken on his role at Chelsea which he does very well, he is very helpful to me and we work very closely. Whether we will see him [playing] much this season I am not sure. It depends on how the season goes and on Covid and isolation, but I certainly felt it was a no-brainer to have Pete in the squad for that reason. It can only help the goalkeepers we have to see one of the world’s best in the modern era amongst us.”
Chelsea face Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday.
And there may be more than a few fans hoping to see Cech on the subs' bench over Kepa.
- Cech 'amazes' Chelsea players and staff in training
- Cech included in Chelsea's 25-man squad
- Thomas Partey's impressive highlights from Arsenal debut