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Jakub Kiwior unique interview: Arsenal centre-back relishing competitors for locations and impressing Mikel Arteta | Soccer Information

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It’s 9 months since Jakub Kiwior’s arrival at Arsenal however wanting again on his dizzying, £20m switch from Spezia, when he swapped a Serie A relegation battle for a Premier League title problem, nonetheless brings a smile from the softly-spoken centre-back.

“The feelings had been excessive from the very starting – even from the second I heard the rumours that they had been eager about me,” he tells Sky Sports activities in a quiet nook of the membership’s coaching floor. “That alone was enormous for me. After that, I used to be very blissful to signal.”

He was happier nonetheless when, the day earlier than his transfer was made official, he was invited to observe Arsenal’s pulsating 3-2 win over Manchester United on the Emirates Stadium, an exciting spectacle which confirmed him first-hand what he was about to stroll into.

“In case you are already with us, you might be already with us,” mentioned Oleksandr Zinchenko as he pulled his new team-mate into the dressing-room celebrations afterwards. “The feelings had been excessive then, too,” provides Kiwior, smiling once more. “I used to be actually blissful to have the ability to do this.”

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Arsenal had been monitoring him intently however the deal was a shock to simply about everybody else. Kiwior, 23, got here with excessive potential however a low profile. He had solely made his Poland debut six months earlier. Earlier than becoming a member of Spezia in 2021, he was taking part in for Zilina in Slovakia.

No shock, then, that Mikel Arteta selected to mattress him in slowly. In addition to being new to the extent, Kiwior arrived with no data of English. He needed to wait two months to be handed his debut.

“I wished to play minutes as quickly as doable however I used to be advised that I wanted to be calm, that I wanted time to settle in,” he says, talking with the assistance of an interpreter as he continues his efforts to be taught the language.

“These two months had been vital for me. It was a giant change. I simply tried to be targeted within the coaching classes and to get settled. The minutes ultimately got here, so it was a really precious time.”

He made his first look within the Europa League towards Sporting in March. After that, following cameos towards Crystal Palace and Liverpool, he excelled on his full Premier League debut, a 3-1 win over Chelsea which reignited Arsenal’s title hopes – albeit briefly.

“Each match is vital nevertheless it was good for me that I performed nicely towards Chelsea,” he says. “It motivated me to proceed working exhausting.

“Then, scoring my first purpose within the final match of the season towards Wolves was particular too. In fact, we had been already successful, nevertheless it’s all the time vital to attain your first purpose for a membership.”

It was vital, too, to make a Positive impression on Arteta. “He’s a participant that I actually like, that is why I signed him,” mentioned the Arsenal supervisor in Might. “He has the potential, at his age, to be nice.”

Arteta just isn’t alone in ranking Kiwior extremely. Robert Lewandowski, his Poland team-mate, raved about his “extraordinary” skill after his first worldwide call-up final 12 months. His regular progress at Arsenal ensures he’s positive to function extra prominently this season.

Not that he has let the reward to his head. Kiwior is a quiet character whose shyness comes throughout on this, one in all his first main interviews as an Arsenal participant. However there’s a steeliness to him too.

“It is excellent to listen to such Positive phrases out of your coach,” he says of Arteta’s feedback. “It clearly helps to bolster your confidence. However I strive not to consider it an excessive amount of as a result of I do know it may have the countereffect as nicely.”

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It’s an angle which ought to serve him nicely beneath a supervisor who strives for fixed enchancment and the admiration is mutual.

“I will say what all the opposite gamers say – that the connection and co-operation is extraordinarily good, and his ways as nicely,” he says.

“He is ready to convey what he means very nicely. Even when I wished to say one thing unfavorable, there may be nothing unfavorable to say.”

Kiwior has been notably impressed by the Spaniard’s consideration to element, together with the artistic, motivational workforce talks glimpsed within the All or Nothing documentary two seasons in the past.

“It is very totally different to what I used to be used to,” he says. “Coming right here, it is the primary time I’ve seen this ultimate assembly earlier than going out on the pitch appear to be it does right here. It is actually one thing new.

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“I used to be fairly shocked that one thing like this was even doable, {that a} coach might provide you with these ideas to form our angle to the sport via all types of competitions and challenges to focus our minds.”

Kiwior typifies that focus in addition to anybody. The Pole remains to be working to carry down a beginning spot in Arsenal’s defence however he provides off no sense of frustration at his inconsistent taking part in time; solely a dedication to grab his probabilities once they come.

“We’ve wonderful gamers right here. The extent of competitors may be very excessive. However I am blissful that I’m able to compete with such good gamers. Even when I am not chosen within the beginning line-up, I am attempting my finest.

“I am blissful at any time when I will assist the workforce, so I do not understand the competitors as one thing dangerous.”

Most of Kiwior’s appearances to this point have are available in central defence however his tactical intelligence is such that he has additionally embraced the duty of filling in as an inverted left-back. Again at Spezia, his ball-playing skill even noticed him utilized in central midfield.

Jakub Kiwior

His versatility shaped a major a part of his attraction to Arsenal. Actually, it was one of many first qualities talked about by Arteta following the announcement of his arrival. Kiwior, for his half, simply desires to assist the workforce in any place he can.

“I nonetheless suppose my favorite and finest place is centre-back nevertheless it’s the coach who decides the place I play and I all the time know the place I am taking part in earlier than the match. Now, it isn’t that vital for me. I simply really feel good taking part in. I am blissful so long as I’ve minutes on the pitch.”

Kiwior appears relaxed about his prospects of taking part in extra usually. He realized the significance of endurance and perseverance throughout a circuitous path to the highest which additionally moulded the steely mentality with which he’s approaching this new problem in England.

At simply 23, he has already performed in 5 totally different nations, transferring from Poland to Belgium to enrol in Anderlecht’s academy as an adolescent, then departing to Slovakia in quest of first-team soccer and getting his transfer to Spezia three years later.

“It was crucial for me to play in numerous leagues as a younger participant,” he says. “In fact, taking part in at first-team degree at a younger age, there have been large expectations and I realized lots.

Jakub Kiwior is relishing the competition for places at Arsenal
Jakub Kiwior is relishing the competitors for locations at Arsenal

“It was tough to get right here. Arsenal is among the greatest golf equipment on this planet and it is an honour to play for them. However my earlier expertise was crucial too. I’ve to thank all of the golf equipment I performed for earlier than.”

His time in Serie A, a proving floor for younger defenders, was notably precious. “It helped me, not solely throughout coaching classes, but in addition the matches. It was the very best lesson I might have as a defender, to have the ability to expertise that soccer each week.”

His 18-month spell there set him up for his subsequent step however did he ever dream it might come at a membership as large as this? Kiwior shrugs. “I am undecided I truly dreamed about it,” he says, “however I targeted on doing it and I am blissful that I’ve achieved that purpose.”

Now, his focus is to determine himself on this Arsenal workforce and assist them go one higher than final time period. “Each participant desires to struggle and get three factors in each match,” he says. “We led the desk final 12 months. This time, we hope we will stick with it till the very finish.”

Jakub Kiwior, their softly-spoken centre-back with the angle to match his skill, is greater than able to play his half.

Watch Everton vs Arsenal reside on Sky Sports activities Premier League from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm

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