For a man that has yet to prove himself on any real level, Arsenal’s Polish goalkeeping prospect Wojciech Szczesny (every spellchecker’s nightmare) sure has a mouth on him. He’s told the Press: “If you are fighting for trophies, you should pick your best players, not your oldest. I am not interested in being the number-three keeper, only the number one. But no-one at Arsenal is brave enough to let me play.” Strong words that are rendered even more powerful by the fact that this highly rated youngster’s contract will run down next June.
He continued: “I’d love to play for Arsenal but am expecting more than a few words (from Wenger) at a Press conference that, one day Wojciech will be the No 1”. Szczesny isn’t messing around and in the position he’s currently in, he’s free to make these kinds of demands and ultimatums. The 20-year-old Polish keeper seems to be pursuing a path often trod by impatient youngsters who are keen to make their mark: he has made his demands public.
This puts Arsène Wenger in a rather awkward situation. He has a talented youngster that he wants to keep on his books, but his outburst and its public nature makes it all the more difficult to keep the situation under wraps. It’ll be interesting to see exactly how Wenger handles this. At a Press Conference after the young Pole’s remarks, Wenger commented on the situation: “He is right, he deserves a chance but the keeper in front of him, Mannone, deserves a chance as well”. He continued,
“It’s part of their job as a football player to live with competition and decisions. I believe the best thing for him is just to focus, work hard and trust us. No club in the world has started more players at the top, top level than we have. Nobody, so he is in the right club. But impatience is a characteristic of youth.”
Sensible comments as usual from Le Boss. If Szczesny is keen to play at the top -level, Arsenal is quite likely to be his best option. If he just wants to be first-choice and is not willing to bide his time, perhaps it is best that he moves on. Szczesny is in the privileged position of being at a top-level club with a manager keen to give young talent a chance. Perhaps he needs to stop and consider what a good situation he’s in and whether the grass would be any greener on the other side of his current circumstances.
Another thing to note is that these comments are a result of the young Pole’s boisterous bravado. Yet if he’s so confident in himself, doesn’t he believe that he can get his head down, work hard, perform well when he gets his chance and make his way into the first team of his own accord? If he’s so talented, why is it necessary to make these kind of public ultimatums? Let’s not forget that Szczesny’s main rivals in the goalkeeping position are Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski who do not provide the staunchest competition.
For Szczesny, it’s vital that Wenger emphasizes the importance of being patient. When he does get a chance in the Carling Cup or as a result of injuries, it’s then that he can stake his claim for a first team place in real terms, not merely in an unearned ultimatum issued to the Press. It’s time that he turned his confidence and belief in himself into good performances on the pitch.
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