EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal legend Bob Wilson talks Petr Cech’s retirement as he praises his ‘fantastic’ decision
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Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson has revealed that he spoke to Petr Cech when the experienced stopper announced he would be retiring at the end of the season, with next Wednesday’s Europa League final set to be his last ever game.
Cech - who confirmed his retirement back in January - could start for Unai Emery's men against former side Chelsea in Baku, signalling the end of a trophy-laden career for the Premier League clean sheet record holder.
Speaking exclusively to Islington Gazette sports reporter Dan Mountney, fellow goalkeeping legend Wilson revealed that he spoke to Cech when he announced his retirement, praising the thought behind his decision.
"I did get in touch with Petr," said Wilson.
"I texted him and said 'you are 36, are you sure you haven't got a few years left in you?' I gave him David Seaman, 41, Pat Jennings, 41, Peter Shilton, 43, and I gave him these ages and what not.
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"He came back with a brilliant reply. He said 'apart from the body starting to let me down a bit, I would rather be one year early retiring than one year too late.'"
"I thought, that's fantastic he thought about this. He's going to continue in the game, I'm certain he'll continue as either a coach or helping out."
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Cech moved across London to join Arsene Wenger's Arsenal in 2015 after losing his place at Stamford Bridge, going on to make 110 Premier League appearances for the Gunners.
His current boss, Emery was full of praise for the 37-year-old, saying: "He played the last matches perfectly, with a big performance, and I want to enjoy this final with his career.
"I am privileged to coach him and we are going to do all our effort to win and to be together in this final."
When quizzed on Cech's retirement plans, Emery wasn't sure what the future holds, but joked that he would like to play drums with the Czech international after he released a charity single with Queen drummer Roger Taylor, raising money for Wilson's Willow Foundation.
"I don't know, but I know he plays the drums! He is a special man," said Emery.
"I want to play with him one day! I said that to him months ago. I said that to him, and it is amazing."
Bob Wilson spoke to Dan Mountney at Arsenal's takeover of the Willow Foundation store in Welwyn Garden City. Willow, a charity set up by Bob and his wife Megs in memory of their daughter Anna, organises special days for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40. To donate to Willow visit www.willowfoundation.org.uk/donate.