Bernd Leno says he wouldn’t turn down the chance to play in the Europa League final even if it meant Petr Cech was reduced to bench-warming duty instead of a last game as a professional.
The German hasn’t played in the competition since October when he took over as Unai Emery’s first choice keeper. Instead, with the summer signing focused on the Premier League, continental duties have been handed to veteran Cech, who in January announced he’d retire at the end of the season.
Asked what he’d do if Emery decided to bench Cech, Leno told DAZN DACH, “It’s such a big game and everyone wants to play
“I’m not sure if I would say ‘I don’t want to play’ because it’s an unbelievable game and everyone wants to enjoy it.
“You don’t know how many finals and how many big games you can play in your career. So I’m not sure if I would say no.”
The way things are going right now, Leno probably won’t have to lose any sleep over the issue. After all, it feels like the football gods are readying a stoppage-time winner for Valencia just to further crush our collective spirit.
It’s probably better that way, we’re not sure we could cope with Giroud scoring a late overhead kick stunner in the final.
For what it’s worth, Leno maintains that whatever decision Emery makes, he’s fine with it.
“It’s difficult because I want to play every big game and now the games are big and important,” he said.
“But I also have to respect Petr because we push each other. Petr is a legend and still a very good goalkeeper.
“The manager decided that I’m the first choice in the Premier League and that Petr was playing in the Europa League. At the end, you have to respect it.
“I have to focus on every game in the Premier League and if I’m not playing in the Europa League I am focused on the bench because you never know.”