Wojciech Szczesny knew that joining Juventus could hurt his World Cup chances, but says he needed to make the right choice for his career.
Although Juventus are a well-renowned club, famous all over Europe, Szczesny having to settle for a bench place behind Gianluigi Buffon isn’t the ideal situation for the Polish ‘keeper.
Lukasz Fabianski is playing 90 minutes every week for Swansea, so it’s a risk for the other ex-Arsenal man to be playing so infrequently, given the two are fighting for the number one spot in the Poland team.
But Szczesny says it was a risk he was willing to take to advance his career at club level, explaining to the Independent: “I spoke to the (Polish) coach and I imagined that joining Juve could hurt my chances of playing at the World Cup, but I couldn’t make that choice based on what might happen in one month next summer, I had to be honest with myself and think about the next ten years of my career.
“I’m sure I made the right decision and I think I’ll play enough games at the kind of level to allow me to play at the World Cup anyway. There’s a certain standard required to play at Juventus and if you’re good enough to do that then you’re good enough to play at a World Cup.
“If I’d only looked at 2018 I could’ve chosen a smaller club where I’d play straight away but I don’t want to move every two or three years. I like to have an emotional connection with the team I’m playing for so I made the best decision for my career and if everything goes well, I’m not going to be changing again any time soon. I’ve been here three months and it’s already proven to be the right choice.”
In my opinion, being mentored by Buffon should help Szczesny to improve, but a lack of competition may mean he’s not quite at his best when the international fixtures come around. The 27-year-old will have to hope that ‘not quite at his best’ is still good enough to put him ahead of everyone else for Poland.
But it may be that Szczesny gets a bit more game-time than people expect. He’s already played 90 minutes on two occasions in the league, eight games in, and kept clean sheets both times. Maybe that will encourage Max Allegri to pick him a bit more before the season’s up.