The Polish international lost his place towards the end of last season, following a poor run of form but has started the season in fine form and also made a string of impressive saves on Tuesday in Poland’s defeat by England.
Wenger believes that a number of factors affected the 23 year old’s form, including a frustrating time for Poland in last summer’s European Championships, but suggests the keeper has come back a better player.
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website before the Norwich win, he said:
He has matured through disappointments, like we all do. I believe every big player has to go through that in his career. And what may decide his career is how he comes out of that and I believe he came out in the way I wanted.
I think he questioned himself, especially after the European Championship in Poland where it was a massive disappointment for him [after he was sent off in the opening game] – I think it affected his belief.
It took him a while but he came back stronger. I took him out of the team last year and since he has come back into the team he has been consistent.
There has been some speculation during the summer that Arsenal would sign a new goalkeeper in the summer but Wenger suggests he never doubted the stopper’s quality. He added:
That speculation didn’t come from me. I was always convinced that Szczesny would make it. I rate Fabianski highly too.
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People forget with Szczesny that, at 23 years old, it is like being 18 for an outfield player.
At 23 he has played two [full] Premier League seasons, one where we finished third and last year when we made 73 points and finished fourth. You would think that he can only go up.
The 2012/13 season was a difficult campaign for Szczesny as he was not in great form and was eventually dropped during the latter part of the season and also faced an uncertain future during the summer as the Gunners were linked with big names to replace him.
However he reacted positively and has been in fantastic form this season. Since his error prone game against Villa he has only conceded two goals in open play and if not for the penalties conceded the Polish keeper would have already had 7 clean sheets to his name.
Szczesny has learnt how to dominate his penalty box. He has been pretty comfortable in claiming the ball during set pieces which is a good sign considering this is where the team have been vulnerable in the past few seasons. I think he is maturing and we should remember the fact that he is only 23 and if he continues to improve at this rate, he could be Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper for a decade or more.
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