Jakub Kiwior says he’s happy with his circumstances at Arsenal and that the competition to start in Mikel Arteta’s defence underlines the quality the club have at their disposal.
Signed from Italian side Spezia for £20 million last January, the Poland international had to bide his time before getting a run in the side but has now started six of the last nine matches in the league – straddling this season and last – mixing it up between left-back and centre-back.
While the 23-year-old has shown flashes of his quality and physicality, it still feels like there’s more to come from a player whose passing range was a highlight of his time in Serie A.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Goodison Park, Kiwior, speaking in his native tongue, told Sky Sports:
“We have excellent players here, the competition is very high. I am happy that I am able to compete with such good players and even if I’m not selected to go in the starting line-up, I’m trying my best. I’m happy. I don’t perceive that as something bad.”
After Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Chelsea in May, Arteta told his press conference that Kiwior “has the potential at his age to be great”. The Pole was appreciative of the confidence boost but isn’t getting carried away.
“It’s very good to hear such positive words from a coach. Obviously, he’s bolstering me up. However, I try not to think about it too much because it can have a counter effect as well.”
On his relationship with the manager, he added: “I’m going to say what everybody else says that the relationship and cooperation is extremely good and with his tactics, he’s able to convey what he means very well. So even if I want to say something negative, there is nothing negative to say!”
With games coming in quick succession over the coming four weeks, it’s likely we’ll see a lot more of Kiwior, who made clear he doesn’t mind what role he’s given.
“I still think that my favourite position is centre-back. However, it’s the coach who decides where I would play. Before the match, I know that, so it’s not that important for me where I play, it’s the coach who decides.”