Goalkeeping coach: He'll make a dent in the bench
Chelsea's goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon has hailed new arrival Mark Schwarzer, who he believes will make a deep, clearly defined impression on the club's bench in the coming months.
The 40-year-old unexpectedly left Fulham for West London rivals Chelsea after his contract at Craven Cottage expired.
While some critics have suggested Schwarzer may be surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, goalkeeping guru Lollichon insists he will be an invaluable addition to the ranks.
"Schwarzer is quality through and through. He's a true professional," Lollichon told FourFourTwo.
"You don't have to tell Mark what you expect from him - he already knows. On the first day of training we ran a few warm-ups and before I even had to say it he retreated to the bench and planted himself down, fumbling with his gloves, sipping from a water bottle and every now and again sharing a joke with Ryan Bertrand."
There had been doubts that Schwarzer, who is accustomed to playing 30 or more games a season, may struggle to adapt to his new sedentary role, but Lollichon says that early signs are positive.
"Mark's already starting to make an impression," he maintained. "When he stood up after his first day of pre-season training you could already see a deep, sculpted groove on the seat - it takes most sub keepers until Christmas to make something so well defined."
"With all due respect to Ross Turnbull, he never made more than a couple of light posterior crenellations."
However, Lollichon added a note of caution, admitting that it's still too early to say whether Schwarzer will be able to maintain the level of intensity he has displayed so far.
"It's one thing keeping the bench warm on a summer's day in Cobham but the real test will be whether he can dig out a cosy little buttock crevice at the Britannia Stadium on a cold Saturday afternoon in December," the Frenchman concluded. "That's when you know you're dealing with a great sub goalie."