Monday, 16 October 2017

Wojciech Szczesny says leaving Arsenal was right choice

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Wojciech Szczesny says moving to Juventus was the “right choice” and claims he saw no improvement in his game tactically as Arsenal No 1.

The 27-year-old spent 10 years with the Gunners before leaving to join the Italian giants this summer, having spent the previous two seasons on loan with Serie A rivals Roma.

The Italian champions signed the Poland international on a four-year deal worth £3.5m per season and, three months on, Szczesny revealed he has seen great signs of improvements in his technical ability since making the switch from the Premier League to Serie A.

“Honestly, I couldn’t say from a technical standpoint that I improved in any way from when I became first choice at Arsenal until the day I left for Roma,” he told The Independent.

“However, in the two-and-a-half years since I came to Italy I’ve improved massively, which is thanks to the coaches and the way they work.

“It’s not about improving when you play, it’s every day in training you have to work on every aspect of your game and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed.

“I think in general, the coaches in Italy are much more tactical, that’s just how the league works.

“At Arsenal you’d just prepare physically for it but here you watch films analysing a specific opponent before the game and afterwards we’ll watch again to see what worked and what didn’t.

“I enjoyed working with some great coaches at Arsenal, Roma and here, but the goalkeeping school in Italy is very different – it’s very technical and pays more attention to the details.”

Szczesny joined Arsenal’s academy from Legia Warsaw in 2006 and went on to make 181 first team appearances, before falling down the pecking order after the arrivals of Petr Cech and David Ospina.

“Accepting that my time with Arsenal was over was difficult because I never imagined leaving,” he said.

“I supported them as a kid and I got to play for the club of my dreams, but life goes on. It was the right thing for me and both clubs and, while one side of me found it difficult to say it was over, the other said let’s just get it done.

Szczesny is understudy to Gianluigi Buffon, the most capped international in Italy’s history, and says he is enjoying learning off the World Cup-winning 39-year-old.

But, with Buffon set to retire at the end of this season, Szczesny knows he has giant boots to fill if he is to take the No 1 spot.

“I never imagined I’d get a chance to even play against him, I mean, I was a 15-year-old kid when I watched him win the World Cup and it was unreal to now find myself as his team-mate,” SzczÄ™sny said.

“It’s like playing with Francesco Totti at Roma, they’re players from a previous generation that I admired growing up and now I get to train with them every day.”

“What makes it better is I get to work with him now because replacing Buffon is not easy.

“You can never be better than him, so now I have a year to be with him and learn from him, to gain knowledge from him and there’s a million goalkeepers who’d love to have that experience.

“Speaking with him and understanding what makes him great is humbling for me because the level he’s at almost 40 years old is ridiculous.”

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