Wojciech Szczesny believes he has huge room for improvement as he looks to lockdown his position as Arsene Wenger’s first choice goalkeeper.
The 21-year-old, who began last season as the club’s fourth choice stopper, has firmly ensconced himself as an Emirates fan favourite with his exuberant personality shining through both on Twitter and on the pitch.
Hailed as a long-term solution to the club’s recent problems between the sticks, the Polish international admits he is completely focused on learning his trade and fighting off the challenge posed by compatriot Lukasz Fabianski.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League showdown with Borussia Dortmund, the cock-sure keeper made clear, “I still need to prove myself at this Club. I still need to work hard every day and prove myself as a No 1 at this Club. I am going to keep working hard and doing my best. I am satisfied but you can always be much better.
“I can improve on every single aspect of my game. There is no finished article in football. I am only 21 so I try to improve every aspect.”
While Arsenal fans have found Szczesny’s confidence in and around the penalty area a marked change from the down-trodden, fearful, damaged demeanour of Manuel Almunia, there have still been some hair-raising moments (including that escape at Chelsea) which clearly demonstrate a lack of experience.
Shunning suggestions that his self-assurance is a possible negative, Szczesny continued, “People still say I am over confident but I am a big critic of myself,” he added. “If I watch a game the day after I played it, I look at the mistakes I have made and I try to learn from them.
“I speak to the coaches and we analyse every little mistake and it’s all to make me improve. There is a lot of room for improvement, I believe. I listen to the coaches’ advice and hopefully I will learn. I am just focusing on doing my job properly and if my manager and team-mates appreciate it then I am happy.”
After a bad start to the season in which he had to pick the ball out of the net eight times at Old Trafford and four times at Ewood Park, the Pole also took time out to praise an upturn in defensive solidity at the Emirates.
“I can feel the improvement in defence,” he said. “I think it has been the defensive work from the whole team starting with the strikers, midfielders, defenders and myself.
“I think we have done very well defensively. We got two clean sheets in the last two games against Marseille which is a fantastic achievement because they are a quality side. That gives us a lot of confidence going into the game on Wednesday and hopefully we can just keep another clean sheet.
“We work together on the training ground and it seems to be working during the games,” he added. “We are much more confident, we concede less goals and I hope we can keep it going.”