Krystian Bielik has given a positive response both on and off the pitch to his early substitution last week.
On Tuesday, Bielik started in midfield for Charlton against Rochdale, but he only lasted 45 minutes before Lee Bowyer withdrew him. After the game, the Addicks boss highlighted the Arsenal loanee’s lack of responsibility in possession as the reason for the substitution.
Then, over the weekend Charlton played Doncaster, and Bielik was moved back to the centre-back position, where he’d been so successful against Barnsley. He gave an emphatic response to the mid-week criticism with a very solid performance, as Charlton won 2-0.
After the game, Bielik spoke to the media about his rollercoaster week.
“I’ve never come off after 45 minutes, that was something new for me,” he admitted. “The gaffer made the decision and I knew that it’s not my best game, and that it’s not my standard. Maybe lower than my standard. That’s his decision, I have to accept it.
“Of course straight away, after when he said I’m coming off, I was saying that’s going to be tough now for me and I have to do my best in training. Show him that I’m good to play and I deserve to play games for 90 minutes, not just 45.
“Next training [session], you have to show that was a mistake, that I should’ve stayed on the pitch. I’m not saying he made a mistake, I just want to show in the next training [session] that I should play. That was in my head.”
This sort of thing is exactly the reason why youth players spend time on loan. At some point, they have to have these sorts of experiences, like getting subbed off early and learning how to respond to that. It’s best they do that away from Arsenal, where the pressure from the media isn’t quite so great.
Thankfully, it seems Bielik has passed the mental test. He got his head down and proved he was worth another chance in training, and then he did the same at the weekend.
Charlton play again on Tuesday, away to Walsall, so we’ll see if the Arsenal defender can get a run going now.