Roberts: I shed tear when Sanchez got Spain call

Keeper is one of five Albion players in the Euros.

By Bruce Talbot • 14 June 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Robert Sanchez's Spain call-up will be of huge benefit to the young keeper, according to his coach, Ben Roberts.

Goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts admitted he shed a tear when he learned of Rob Sanchez's Spain call-up.

Sanchez has yet to make his international debut, but he is one of the three goalkeepers named by his country for their Euros campaign, which begins against Sweden in Seville on Monday. He is one of five Albion players at the tournament.

Whether he plays or not, Roberts says it will be valuable experience for the 23-year-old, who only made his Premier League debut in October against Spurs.

Roberts said, “I was delighted. I had a tear in my eye, to be honest. I knew how much it meant to him and his family, how hard he worked to get there, coming abroad when you're 15 years old, not speaking the language and all the different challenges in front of him.

“He's also not happy now just to be in the squad. That’s his thing. He said, ‘I want to play, I need to play’.

“I reiterated the same thing to him, ‘Just be respectful of the other goalkeepers that are there and train as well as you can’.

Sanchez kept ten clean sheets in his first season in the Premier League and more importantly gained lots of valuable experience of competing at the top

“The question with young goalkeepers is can they perform in the first team with Sky cameras on like the play in the under-23s? You never know until they are in that environment,” added Roberts.

“I’ve always believed he would go to the top. We’ve always had high hopes for him.

“He’ll tell you it was a case of me saying, ‘You're not ready yet, Rob, I’ll tell you when you’re ready. When you’re ready, you’ve got to be ready to stay in the team and be the No.1’.

“He’s everything you look for in a modern goalkeeper. He’s got an unbelievable physical profile, 6ft 5ins, quick, powerful. He's two-footed, calm in possession. He’s got the ability to go beyond the opposition. He’s really, proactive defending his area. Technically he’s sound, he’s got lovely hands and is a really good shot-stopper. The only thing he doesn’t have is 150 Premier League appearances so the experience he had this season has been invaluable.”