Szczesny: I can be better than I ever thought I could be

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Wojciech Szczesny has revealed his time at AS Roma has helped him reevaluate how good a keeper he can be and says his move to Italy was probably the best thing to happen to him after his Arsenal dream turned into a nightmare.

During two loan spells at the Stadio Olimpico, the 27-year-old, who has the most clean sheets in Serie A this season, has done much to repair a reputation that was left in tatters after a bizarre decision to smoke in the dressing room following a poor performance at Southampton on New Year’s Day 2015.

Under contract at the Emirates for one more year, the Poland international is due to discuss his future at the end of the current campaign with Arsene Wenger having to make a big call over whether to keep or cash in on the player he signed in 2006. For his part, the player reiterated last week his desire to have another crack at being Arsenal’s number one.

Speaking to the Guardian’s Amy Lawrence, the player reflected: “The season before I left I had a very bad season – performances, injuries, off field – it was terrible

“I could have stayed in an environment that was going negatively for me. Instead the opportunity that came gave me a fresh start. You get a new perspective. You get new coaches and influences. You learn new drills. You do new things.

“Now I am very happy that it happened, even if the first impression was that I might be out of Arsenal, which was very painful. Now I think it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.

“The biggest thing I have taken away from these two years at Roma is the fact I grew as a goalkeeper. It’s just raising your levels, your standards. I absorbed a bigger knowledge of football, the tactical side of the game. You don’t see me with that rush of blood that I used to have as a younger keeper. It’s not that I don’t feel that rush of blood but tactically you are more aware of when to be involved, when to let the defenders recover.”

He added: “I think I can be better now than I thought I could be when I was back at Arsenal. I have grown more than I would have hoped for. Now I think with the right work, the right attitude, I can go a long way. I always want to be the best but now I feel a bit closer to it.

“When I have my head on the 2017-18 season, then we make a decision – first Arsenal has to and then I have to. I want to make sure I take my time, clear my head of this season, and then focus on doing the right thing. What that is time will show.”

It’s pretty obvious Wojciech still considers himself a dyed-in-the-wool Gooner, also admitting in the article that he tries to watch Arsenal’s games whenever possible (“It hurts being an Arsenal fan watching as it has been a painful year”) and that winning with Roma “doesn’t taste as good” as it did at the Emirates.

It’s well worth giving Amy’s full interview a read, you can do that here. 

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30 Comments on "Szczesny: I can be better than I ever thought I could be"

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Paul

Get him back. Always liked him but now he has grown up and is probably the best (or close) in Serie A.

And he loves Arsenal.

Paul

Szczesney 14 clean sheets, 39% of matches

Cech 12 clean sheets 35%

Not much different and Szcz is more likely to improve out of the two.

David C

problem is what do we do with Cech? Both of these guys are good enough to start and Cech has started to look a lot better with 3 at the back.

1 more loan year for Szcz and Martinez as this year’s backup? Tough decisions…

Faisal Narrage

Chez has 1 year left on his contract.

PFo

Get rid of Ospina. Convince Szcz to come back, sign a new deal, say he’ll get a crack at the starting spot. Cech should start out as first choice at the beginning of preseason, but if Szcz (or even Martinez) do enough, then they should win the shirt. Whoever is no 2 at beginning of prem season (presumably Szcz, but maybe Cech) gets the autumn in Europe (I almost wrote “champions league” there–sad…) and the FA Cup games, just like Ospina has. Then, summer 2018, provided Szcz (or maybe Martinez) has shown enough to be the longterm starter, we let go of Cech.

ramgooner

Ofcourse Szcz is likely to improve out of the 2. But, Cech is calm infront of goal and his experience is vital in the dressing room. I know Cech doesn’t save penalties but my inner oracle says he’s the man when it comes to shootout in cup finals.

Faisal Narrage

Your inner oracle tells you a made with a history of not saving spot kicks is the man for shoot out cup finals compared to another keeper with a pretty good record at spot kicks?

Interest oracle you got there.

cidfy

Cech won chelsea the cl trophy in a shoot—out.

BromleyGooner

I hope he does stay at the club at fight for a place. I can’t help but question our coaching and especially defensive coaching at the club though heard his thoughts. I know as a player he is getting older and being wiser comes with this but I question how much of this is down to how well we prepare the defensive aspect of our game instead of the “jazzer” approach.

NewSeason

Yea that’s exactly what went through my mind as well. We’ve often heard rumblings about uneasy relationships between Arsenal goalkeeping coaches and Fabianski and Jens as well.

We should sign Cech’s goalkeeping coach from Chelsea, Christoph Lollichon?

Cliff Bastin

Remember how thirsty he was with his water bottle when we were defending a lead against Barca?

Mein Bergkampf

I’ll say the same thing to you I said to one of my most talented pilots. Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.

Sachin

Are you perchance quoting from Airplane!?

Badaab

Shirley he is. But can anyone here speak jive?

Mein Bergkampf

Top Gun man!

Mein Bergkampf

Well I stand corrected and await our glorious goalkeeper, who I’ve heard is still prone to huge lapses in concentration, heroically returning to save us from mediocrity. Viva le Szcz! Fag-tastic!

SirBobbyBergkamp

“A shot to tone the muscles, a cigarette to calm the nerves” ~ Lev Yashin

Sachin

Comeback home Chez.

GoonerBert

Definitely a great move for him and I’d love to have him back. Something in his words during that interview seem to point to problems with our goalkeeping coaches though, almost as if he hadn’t been pushed or refocused in a way he should have been. I might have completely misinterpreted that, but It’s just the impression I get.

Vedant

He’s got his own show on Roma’s YouTube channel. Funny guy Szczesny

SpamB0t

In the Guardian article, Amy Lawrence asks if Szczesny might “Look elsewhere for a new challenge?”

Surely our defense can provide him with all the challenges he could ever hope for.

Tasmanian Jesus

Haha!
Congratulations, you won the internet today!

Heavenly Chapecoense

Szczesny should not expect to remain cool and let the defenders recover when he is back at Arsenal. He will have to get ready to help two Arsenal defenders facing four opposing players with no other support.

owen

I love Szczesny and can’t wait for him to be back in Londond. COYG.

Johannes

I’d Love to see szc come home again. IT would be great for us to have him and cech next season competing for a place in the starting XI

GunnerYY

Best solution for Arsenal is, Szczesny sign new contract and loan him again to give him more play time(with recall clause if something goes south with Cech and Emi). But probably we will sacrifice either him or Cech, lately Cech play so good maybe this 3 or 5 at the back help him a lot and optimize his potential.

santori

Its great timing to have Szsc back to compete, be mentored and eventually succeed Cech.

Alex

He also had the golden glove for us. Get him back, make him number 1 and tell him he has to be the best to stay there otherwise Cech gets in.

CAJ

Anyone watch much of him lately? I always considered him an excellent shot stopper. What made me nervous in the past was how often he gives away penalties when a forward breaks free. Every time I expect him to barge into the player and get nothing of the ball.

richardanus

Ah. New coaching, new perspective eh Woj. You said it.

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