Sanchez: Message from hero Iker has given me a boost

Spanish legend delighted with goalkeeper's Premier League progress.

By Bruce Talbot • 22 February 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Robert Sanchez kept his third clean sheet of the Premier League season in the 0-0 draw with Fulham.

Rob Sanchez has revealed how a message from his hero Iker Casillas has given him a boost ahead of tonight’s game against Crystal Palace.

Casillas, who made more than 700 appearances for Real Madrid and won the World Cup with Spain, passed on a message to the Albion keeper after hearing how much Sanchez admired him during an interview he gave on Spanish radio.

"He heard the little interview and said he was really happy for me and what I am doing," said Sanchez.

"Obviously, I said thank you to him for being the way he was and making me dream of becoming what he was.

"He said thank you so much for taking me as an example. He was happy and hopefully one day I get to see him in person.

"I just like the saves he used to pull off, the unbelievable moments he had in big games. It just made him different class."

By Paul Hazlewood
Robert Sanchez is one of five Albion players at the Euros.

Sanchez is enjoying a run of form his idol would have been proud of with five clean sheets in his last six games.

But goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts, with whom he has a strong relationship, makes sure Sanchez stays grounded and learns from his mistakes, even those he made long before he played in the Premier League.

"Against Liverpool earlier this month there was a through ball which [Robert] Firmino ran onto but I could tell he wasn’t looking to touch the ball, he was waiting for me to touch him to dive for a penalty.

By Rex Shutterstock
Iker Casillas played for Real Madrid and Porto before retiring.

"So I slowed down, he didn’t touch the ball it went out for a goal kick, so that was a good decision.

"But when I was at Forest Green Rovers on loan a couple of years ago I had the same situation and I took the player out completely and gave away a penalty and that happened to me twice.

"That’s why making mistakes is good because when the same thing happens at this level you think ‘wait, let’s do this better.’

“" have learnt a lot from Ben about being consistent, in games and in training. Even if I make a little mistake in training he comes down hard on me. It’s tough love – he knows if I concentrate I won’t make those mistakes."

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