Krystian Bielik is relishing the chance to play in the centre of defence alongside Jason Pearce in recent matches, as he makes good progress on his loan spell.
When Bielik first joined Arsenal back in 2015, he was a 17-year-old defensive midfielder whose only experience of senior football was in Poland. As so often with players who move clubs and countries whilst still in their teenage years, he started to transition to a new position before long, becoming a centre-back for the Gunners’ academy.
Charlton have played Bielik in both positions so far during his loan spell, but have had more success with the 20-year-old in the centre of defence. Bielik himself puts that down to the partnership he’s building with Jason Pearce.
“I feel very comfortable with Jason,” Bielik told Sunday’s edition of The Football League Paper. “We talk to each other all 90 minutes. He’s an experienced player with so many games. He’s got good quality and experience and I think he’s a good partner to play alongside, to have next to you. We understand each other very well.”
Bielik has started three matches in a centre-back pairing with Pearce now, and all three ended 2-0 to Charlton. Clearly, they must be doing something right, because those are the only three league matches the club have won in the last eight attempts.
Loan spells are often good for playing regular football and gaining experience of different types of matches. However, in the end, how often and how well you play comes down to how you fit in with the other players at that club, almost regardless of talent.
Plenty of talented Arsenal youngsters have gone on loan to clubs that don’t suit their style and returned with nothing but a hit to their confidence. Thankfully, it seems Bielik has found his place in the Charlton side.