Wojciech Szczesny says he has been able to take positives from his Euro 2012 experience, despite the fact he was sent off in Poland’s first game, was suspended for their second and not selected for their final group game before elimination.
Heralded as a potential national hero before the opening game with Greece, the 22-year-old quickly saw excitement turn to disappointment after receiving his marching orders midway through the second half.
“It was obviously quite tough getting sent off in the first game and then being left out for the third match, but the experience of being there was different, something I have never had before,” Szczesny told Arsenal.com.
“Every time I play for the national team and hear the national anthem it is probably the best feeling a player can experience. But then the buzz [at Euro 2012] was unbelievable and if anything we wanted it too much.
“We were up for [the opening game], we had been preparing for four years and for me it all finished quite quickly. But to experience it will make not only myself, but the whole team, stronger.
“Obviously the sending off is [part of] a learning curve for me and hopefully that will never happen again. But it has made me more mature.
“Before the game I had never felt better in my life. Physically I was really fit and mentally strong and it just shows you that you never know what is around the corner. In that way it made me more mature.”
Having had his face plastered all over Warsaw ahead of the tournament it’s fair to say that pressure was heavily steeped on Szczesny’s young shoulders. He had an opportunity to cement his status as one of Europe’s most exciting talents and in the end he didn’t take it. That being said, that he has the mental strength to put things in perspective and move on is an overwhelming positive for Arsenal.
Too many mentally fragile goalkeepers have crumbled after smaller mistakes than his. Fingers crossed he can keep learning and form the foundation of a much improved defence this season.2,569 views