Manager explains why Arsenal loan star was taken off at half-time

Charlton’s Krystian Bielik warming up before the game with Southend United. Photo: Kyle Andrews

Lee Bowyer has explained to the media why Krystian Bielik came off at half-time in Charlton’s 1-0 defeat to Rochdale this weekend.

After a positive 2-0 victory in Bielik’s last start for the side, he struggled in the first-half against Rochdale and ended up coming off during the break. There were some fears the Arsenal loanee might have picked up another injury, after spending a month on the sidelines with a strain in early September.

However, Bowyer confirmed afterwards that it was just a tactical switch, as Bielik wasn’t performing as impressively as usual.

“Krystian Bielik is normally good at sitting at the bottom of the diamond, but today he took too many touches and kept getting caught in possession,” Bowyer explained. “He needs to learn that you have to move the ball quickly because that’s the way we play. Not just him, everybody was poor first half.

“It was disappointing all round, but we’ll work to put it right.”

In Bielik’s defence, he’s been moved back and forth between positions quite a lot since joining Charlton. He started the season at centre-back, then moved to defensive midfield, then returned to centre-back after his injury, then moved back to midfield on Saturday. With little consistency in his role, it must be difficult to find form.

Unfortunately, that positional inconsistency is linked to Bielik’s injury problems. After his impressive performance at the back last weekend, there’s no doubt the Polish u19 international would’ve remained in the back line if he was fit enough to play in midweek.

However, Bielik had to sit the match out, and Darren Pratley did well enough in his place to nail down a starting spot against Rochdale. There’s still plenty of time left this season for the Arsenal loanee to find his permanent place in the team, so let’s hope things improve from here.