Interview

Ospina - Why I love being a keeper

He’s made more than 300 career appearances between the sticks, so it’s a good job David Ospina loves being a goalkeeper.

Making his debut for Atletico Nacional as a 17-year-old back in 2005, the Colombian stopper has since gone on to become his country’s most-capped goalkeeper of all time.
 
And, while his game time may have been restricted in north London by Petr Cech’s form, Ospina says he is still looking to learn every single day.
 
“I always studied other keepers,” he told Arsenal Player. “In Colombia at that time this meant Rene Higuita, Faryd Mondragon, Oscar Cordoba and the late Miguel Calero. At international level, I would watch Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon.
 
“I tried to notice what each keeper did really well, but it’s important to develop your own style - a style that works for you. You need to have a strong character as well as being patient and calm.
 
“It’s also a position that helps you to develop mental strength, because you can be the best, but if you make one mistake, you are more heavily criticised than any other position on the pitch. That really helps you to become strong psychologically.

“A great keeper must enjoy the trust of his team and be able to remain calm and focused. There may be key moments when the team needs him to take direct action. Maintaining focus is important, but very hard to achieve, particularly against certain teams.
 
“In some matches, the ball might only come near you two or three times, yet those moments can be decisive. If you are not focused, and living every moment of the match, you can be caught out suddenly. It’s very hard to maintain focus, so you have to work at it.
 
“I make the most of that calmness I’ve already mentioned. I am passionate about goalkeeping, I love being a keeper. You have to enjoy it in order to be calm and relaxed on the pitch. What I want is to be able to play and carry on showing what David Ospina can do for Arsenal.”

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