‘A Star in the Making’ – Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczęsny

SzczęsnyArsenal fans will be pleased to know that there is an exciting young goalkeeper at the club in the form of Polish youngster Wojciech Szczęsny. With first-team ‘keepers Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone all making mistakes and struggling to fully nail down their place in the team, Szczęsny may well get further first-team action sooner rather than later. The tall 19 year old has been sent out on loan to Brentford for a month to gain some experience, and having already made his debut for the Polish national side, Szczęsny is a highly talented youngster who could well be the long-term answer to Arsenal’s goalkeeping problems.

Goalkeeping ability must run in the Szczęsny family, with Wojciech following in the footsteps of his father Maciej who himself played for Poland in the 1990s. Wojciech Szczęsny is a real presence in goal, standing at 6ft 5in tall and his development in football so far has come at a rapid pace. Arsenal signed the Pole from Legia Warsaw in 2006, where at the age of just 15 he had already featured for their first team before being spotted by Liam Brady. His nickname of ‘Tech 9’ will be welcomed by fans that like me may have trouble pronouncing his full name, but from what Gunners supporters have seen from him so far, is he definitely one to watch?

Szczęsny himself certainly feels that he is ready for first-team football after getting a taste of it against West Brom in the Carling Cup earlier in the season. Said to be authoritative, fast to the ball and have sharp reflexes, the Polish ‘keeper has already won some admirers on loan at Brentford. Szczęsny featured in Brentford’s 1-0 defeat at Wycombe last night, managing to save a penalty and emerge from the game with great credit. His spell in League 1 at Griffin Park should do him the world of good, and provide him with an arena in which to learn from his mistakes and come out at the end of it as a stronger player and character.

When Szczęsny returns to The Emirates, he knows that his manager has a lot of faith in him. Arsene Wenger has gone on record to say how highly he rates the 19 year old ‘keeper and clearly feels he has a promising future at Arsenal. The Frenchman told Arsenal.com that Szczęsny is a “great, great prospect” who has a “presence, charisma and calmness,” and Wenger added that “you see straight away there is quality there,” which is high praise indeed. With both Liam Brady and Arsene Wenger rating the youngster highly, much will be expected of the Pole and with those sorts of recommendations I don’t doubt that he can make it on the biggest stage.

Young Polish ‘keeper Wojciech Szczęsny provides Wenger with another goalkeeping option and I’m sure that his time will come in the future. With the number one position being so important and Arsenal currently not having a world class ‘keeper, Arsenal fans will be hoping that Szczęsny could be that player. Having already recovered from a serious injury when he broke both his arms last year, Szczęsny has shown that he has the character and determination required, but will he be the top-quality goalkeeper that the Gunners have been waiting for?