The 19 yr old Polish goalkeeper has been on loan at Brentford from the Gunners since November and is tipped for a bright future by manager Arsene Wenger. ‘I really believe in him that he will one day be Arsenal’s No 1. He has all the qualities you want from a goalkeeper.’ Wenger told a press conference in January. High praise indeed at only 19 years of age. Yet becoming Arsenal’s number one cannot be all that difficult. Manuel Almunia has not exactly graced the position with numerous mistakes. Vito Mannone has been given a chance and pulled of some impressive shot stops. But he looks nervous, shaky and a liability in the air. Arsenal is crying out for a quality keeper and Wojciech Szczesny could be the answer.
The youngster who was born in Warsaw is the son of legendary Polish keeper Maciej Szczesny, the only Polish player ever to win the League title with four different clubs. In the summer of 2006 aged 15 Wojciech Szczesny turned down a contract offer from Legia Warsaw and was picked up by Arsenal’s Liam Brady. He has been impressing the Gunner’s coaching staff massively and was allowed to final gain some playing time on loan this season at Brentford.
With the League One side lucky enough to gain his services, he has not let them down. The tall, commanding goalkeeper has excellent reactions and reads the game particularly well. A highlight so far was his man of the match performance against Leeds United in December where the young Pole made a string of fantastic saves to keep the promotion chasers out. Brentford themselves have praised the keeper considerably. Despite Szczesny having a poor game against MK Dons recently Brentford manager Andy Scott claimed in his post match interview ‘Our goalkeeper has been outstanding. For a 19-year-old to come in who had not played a league game before he has been exceptional.’ Brentford almost certainly want the option of loaning the young star for another season.
What is clear is that the 19yr old is not only thought of highly at the Emirates and Brentford. He has already made his full international debut for Poland in November last year as a second half substitute against Canada. The 6ft 5in stopper has made his first full cap even before his Arsenal bow. With Arsenal’s aforementioned goalkeeping problems, there are calls for the young Pole to be established as the club’s No. 1 next season. Where this might be a tad too early for a still learning Szczesny, he is definitely one that Arsenal fans should keep their eye on.
Check out this BBC Video on his potential: Wojciech Szczesny
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