The retired Germany international, 45, hinted during an interview with talkSPORT that Jose Mourinho may have been a little too hasty with his decision to demote the Czech Republic international to the role of Chelsea’s No. 2.
Thibaut Courtois has been Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper since the start of the season, but Lehmann feels the 22-year-old still has much to prove.
Lehmann: Cech's best years are ahead of him
“Courtois is probably the best [young] talent around and he has done really great so far, but in tight games he still has to prove he is up to the challenge of what Petr Cech has done,” the ex-Gunners’ star said on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.
“He [Cech] is getting to the best age for a goalkeeper. I have experienced it myself, when all of a sudden physique comes together with experience. The best years are still ahead of him.”
Cech's professionalism has been exemplary
Cech has performed well on the occasions Mourinho has used him this season, while his professionalism since being demoted behind Courtois has been exemplary.
Many Chelsea fans must have expected Cech to leave Stamford Bridge during the January transfer window because of his lack of game time, but the veteran goalkeeper - who was named in the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year last season - opted to stay put and fight for his place.
It briefly looked as if Cech had won his place back following two uncharacteristically nervous displays from Courtois - against Manchester City and Aston Villa - as Mourinho dropped the Belgium international to the bench for the Everton clash.
But despite Cech’s excellent display against the Toffees, Mourinho reverted back to Courtois for Chelsea’s crucial Champions League last-16 first leg tie against Paris Saint-Germain - and the former Atletico Madrid star repaid his manager’s faith with a Man of the Match performance.
Courtois is the better all-round goalkeeper
Of course, it’s impossible to say whether Cech would have performed equally as well on the night; but in Courtois - as Lehmann stated in his interview - Chelsea have the best young goalkeeper in world football.
There’s an argument to say that Courtois was, in fact, the best goalkeeper in the world over the course of 2014.
Without the Belgium star, Atletico Madrid would not have won their first La Liga title since 1996 or reached the Champions League final last season.
He was more influential for Atletico than Manuel Neuer was for Bayern Munich - but it was the Germany star who was nominated for the 2014 Ballon d’Or award after lifting the World Cup trophy in Brazil.
Mourinho is right to stick with Courtois over Cech - he is simply the better all-round goalkeeper - but Lehmann, who does not believe Arsene Wenger will look to sign Chelsea’s No. 2 this summer, certainly raises an interesting talking point.
Are Petr Cech’s years ahead of him? Should Mourinho drop Courtois for the veteran Czech Republic international? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below!
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