Wojciech Szczesny admits that Arsene Wenger has indulged his rookie status since he became a permanent fixture in the first team squad and again made clear that he’s desperate to repay the faith placed in him not only by the coaching staff but also by supporters.
Handed the number one shirt in the summer and immediately returned to his position between the posts despite pressure from Vito Mannone and an injury-hit first couple of months, the Pole has very much established himself in goal at the Emirates.
“I’m 22. I’ve won nothing in football. Literally nothing. The only trophy I have won was the Emirates Cup and that is not exactly enough, is it?
“The manager does stick with me when I have ups and downs with my form. That’s what you get at this age. He shows a lot of faith in me and sticks with me all the time but I am trying to improve.
“I came here as a 16-year-old boy and everything I know right now, I know from this club and the people who took care of me when I was young.
“Some of them have had the most influence – of course you have your parents and relatives, but people I have met here have given me so much. It’s everyone. I love this place.
“I feel I have something I want to give back to them. It gives me a lot of desire to do well.”
One of the factors which has hindered Arsenal’s attempts to win trophies in recent years has centered on an apparent lack of cohesion at the back. However, dismissing suggestions that the club have a ‘dodgy defence’ Szczesny stressed that Arsenal’s overall attacking philosophy coupled with a failure on the part of the collective to do their jobs were far more to blame for the conceding of goals.
“Over a long time I’ve honestly had enough of people saying Arsenal’s defence is not good enough. People judge defence on the back of goals conceded but you have to have a look at the defending in general.
If my back four are completely exposed against Chelsea – most of the time in the first half there it was four of my defenders against six Chelsea players – they were disadvantaged all the time.
“You have to look at the defending of the whole team, the shape of the whole team. People blame the Arsenal defenders way too much over the past couple of seasons.
“I feel for them, massively. I try to help them as much as I can. I am happy to take the blame sometimes for a goal conceded if I felt I could do better. They’ve been hammered.
“Of course sometimes people make mistakes but very often the Arsenal defenders have been criticised too much. It gets to public opinion and once people give you a label of a dodgy defender, whatever you do they look at you closely and there is always something they will find that you have done wrong. It’s quite tough.”
Check out the full interview where SZCZ talks Euro 2012, Arsenal’s attempts to emulate Barcelona’s playing style and his advocacy of the club’s youth policy, click here.