Petr Cech sends a strong message to Thibaut Courtois

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Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has insisted that claims Atletico Madrid loan star Thibaut Courtois is primed to take his starting spot at Stamford Bridge are wide of the mark, vowing to fight the Belgian stopper for the number one jersey if he returns next season.

Courtois has been outstanding during three seasons on loan with Atletico, becoming firmly established as one of the world's best young keepers thanks to clocking up over 100 La Liga appearances at the age of 21.

Chelsea have the starlet under contract until 2016, which gives Blues boss Jose Mourinho a decision to make over whether to provide Cech with the toughest competition of his career to date for a place in the starting XI.

Cech's position is under threat despite 10 fantastic seasons with Chelsea, littered with trophies thanks in part to the Czech international's commanding presence in between the posts.

As Chelsea fans speculate over Mourinho's next move in a pivotal position Cech has baulked at criticism that he is too static to be considered one of the world's best goalkeepers, insisting he deals with every situation how he sees fit and is working hard to stay at the highest level for the remainder of his career.

He told the Daily Mail: "People say I’m the old- fashioned goalkeeper who doesn’t really like to sweep. This amazes me. It absolutely makes me laugh.

"If you look how high I play on the field, regarding any goalkeeper I can remember, nobody plays higher than I’m playing."

Cech was equally forthright on the issue of Courtiois joining Chelsea next season, declaring: "If, on the first day of pre-season, Thibaut Courtois is here, he is here. If he is not, he is not. It does not change anything.

"I will still have to do better than whoever else is here, to keep my place. It doesn’t change anything for me. You could ask John Terry or Gary Cahill about the very promising French central defender bought by the club.

‘If he comes back and he’s better than me, credit to him, well done to him, but who knows? I’m not afraid. I’m not a fool to think I’ve been here 10 years and I’ll be here another five, just because. I’ve never had a manager who would just put me in the goal because everybody was used to seeing me there."

The 31-year-old's Chelsea contract also expires in 2016, the same time as the younger, promising Courtois, which makes this summer surely the time for Mourinho to make it clear who his long-term number one is moving forward.

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Petr Cech
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