Wojciech Szczesny has hailed the Italian goalkeeping coaches, claiming that he didn’t improve while at Arsenal.
Woj believes that he learned far more when he moved to Roma on loan in 2015 than his time as first-choice goalkeeper at Arsenal.
“I think in general, the coaches in Italy are much more tactical, that’s just how the league works,” the Poland international told the Independent. “Whether it was [Luciano] Spalletti at Roma or Max Allegri here, the preparation for the game is different to what I was used to in England. You work on the shape of the team for a particular match all week. At Arsenal you’d just prepare physically for it but here you watch film 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. It’s really made a difference for me because I started playing at a very young age with Arsenal and as you play you gain experience and that’s how you grow. But, 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.
“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.”
The 27-year-old did improve vastly while playing week in, week out in Serie A. In fact, he became one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe, keeping 14 clean sheets in total last season.
Part of this was probably down to him maturing as a player. He came through Arsenal’s academy and was thrown into first-team action because we didn’t have many options. Especially not somewhat decent ones.
When he was in north London, he could be rash but, as I said, he was young and inexperienced. Not only did his move to Italy probably force him to grow up and give him a bit of a wake-up call, it was during some of the most developmental years of his career. Most shot-stoppers peak at 28/29. This was where he decided whether he wanted to be an okay goalkeeper or a world class one. He obviously picked the latter.
Combine this with the fact that he seems to truly believe the coaches in Italy are tactically superior to those at Arsenal and it’s no wonder that while he didn’t want to leave the Gunners at the time, he recognises that signing for Juventus was probably the best move for his career right now.