David Seaman believes Wojciech Szczesny has a big decision to make regarding his future having lost his status as Arsenal’s first choice keeper to David Ospina.
The Pole has made 179 appearances for the Gunners since his debut in September 2009 but hasn’t featured since New Year’s Day when an error-strewn performance against Southampton was compounded by his infamous shower cigarette incident.
Claiming time is on the 24-year-old’s side, Seaman – who made 564 starts in a 13-year career at Highbury – noted Szczesny could still rescue his career by using squad competition to drive himself to the next level.
“It must be hard for him now to be number two, coming off the back of a season where he was a regular and had been playing at his best,” the ex-England man told Press Association Sport.
“It is totally just because he had a couple of bad mistakes and Ospina has gone in and done his stuff. Either of them could be Arsenal’s number one, it is about who is on form – and if Ospina keeps his form, then he is going to stay there.”
“It is not a difficult situation, but it keeps you on your toes to know that there is quality behind you. It is not just the games which make you play better, it is the training.
“The goalkeepers train together, and you see the other guy, you think ‘I want to be better than him’ or ‘I am going to show him how good I am’. That is day to day and is good because it brings the best out of you and tests you, so you become a better goalkeeper.
“Wojciech has a big choice now, but he has still got loads of time, I did not join Arsenal until I was 26. It is about how he reacts, and what does the player want – does he want to play as a number one? Or is he happy being at a big club as a number two?
“It is all about his ambition. If he wants to be a number one somewhere, then how long is he going to have to wait? But if he leaves Arsenal, then it won’t be the same level, because it is not until after they go, that all these guys realise how good Arsenal is.”
Szczesny, who returned to the bench at Burnley after missing the Liverpool game with a rib injury, is due to start against Reading at Wembley this weekend.
Ironically, having ‘missed out’ on an FA Cup medal last year because he was the number one, he could now get his hands on the trophy as the back-up keeper (should we make the final and then beat either Liverpool or Aston Villa on 30 May).
Speculation continues to link Arsenal with a summer move for Chelsea’s Petr Cech; a player Arsene came close to signing when the Czech was playing for Rennes in France. Whoever is around to challenge Ospina, they’ve got their work cut out…
David Ospina’s win rate is 92%, the highest for any player in Premier League history (min 10 games, via Opta)
— Josh James (@JoshJJames78) April 11, 2015