His rise to the Arsenal first-team has been meteoric enough, but goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny is not stopping there. The 21-year-old, who admits he’s already starting to become a leader at the club, is targeting the captaincy.
Szczęsny’s starring performances have been a rare highlight in an otherwise frustrating start to the season, but it wasn’t all plaudits when he first arrived in England. Adapting to a new country, new language, new club and new ways of doing things was daunting enough, but he told the Polish media this week he doesn’t regret a thing.
“It’s the best decision I could make. This is where I really grew up. I am here since I was practically a kid. If I didn’t come here as a teenager, I wouldn’t be able to play at such a high level.”
He goes on to say Arsenal is now his ‘second home,’ before adding some credence to the mischievous rumour this week that Barcelona might be interested, by adding:
“I can’t declare that I will spend my entire career here, but if I leave I will have a very important reason or I will go to Barcelona.”
However true speculation of a move away might be, Szczęsny’s focus is clearly on Arsenal. His role as a key communicator at the back has blossomed, to the point now where the former Brentford loanee feels like a leader.
“I feel that when I say something, everyone listens to me. More so on the field than in the dressing room, but that’s more important I think. In the national team as well as at the club, teammates respect me. I’m not saying I’m the only leader, but I feel I am one of them.”
The level-headed and very likeable youngster is as ambitious as he talented, and while Robin van Persie might be captain at present, Szczęsny has his eyes on leading the team who gave him his big break.
“I want to be the captain of the team. I feel that I am able to take on that responsibility. I always wanted to be captain and if I ever get that honour, I will gladly put on the armband.”
The Poland international is currently nursing a back injury, and while Arsenal fans sweat over the fitness of Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere and the newly stricken Bacary Sagna, they know the fitness of the inspired Szczęsny is most crucial, with a long season of battles ahead.
Translations via Bartosz Ciurski