Former Arsenal Stopper Wojciech Szczesny Reveals the Biggest Difference Between England & Italy


Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny believes that moving to Italy has made him a technically better player, as coaching and game preparation in Serie A is much more intense and specifically tailored to each individual game/scenario than he experienced with Arsenal.

Szczesny explained in a lengthy interview with The Independent that preparation with the Gunners was mainly about training and being physically ready. In Italy, however, it can be a week-long study, watching tapes and planning tactics in tremendous detail.

"I think in general, the coaches in Italy are much more tactical, that's just how the league works," the Pole explained after working with Luciano Spalletti at Roma and now Massimiliano Allegri at Juve.

"You work on the shape of the team for a particular match all week. At Arsenal you'd just prepare physically for it, but here you watch film analysing a specific opponent before the game and afterwards we'll watch again to see what worked and what didn't," he explained.

Szczesny left Arsenal on loan for Roma in 2015 when Petr Cech was brought in from Chelsea. With his career at a crossroads, he spent two years establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Serie A, much to the surprise of many who had seen him in England.

He credits the Italian style with improving him, and is now serving as an understudy to living legend Gianluigi Buffon in anticipation of replacing the goalkeeping superstar as number one next summer.

"The goalkeeping school in Italy is very different," Szczesny said. "It's very technical and pays more attention to the details. It's really made a difference for me because I started playing at a very young age with Arsenal and as you play you gain experience and that's how you grow.

"But, honestly, I couldn't say from a technical standpoint that I improved in any way from when I became first-choice at Arsenal until the day I left for Roma.

"In the two-and-a-half years since I came to Italy, I've improved massively which is thanks to the coaches and the way they work. It's not about improving when you play, it's every day in training you have to work on every aspect of your game and that's something I've really enjoyed."

Szczesny wasn't always a goalkeeper, trying to make it was a goalscorer at one point: "I didn't start off as one but let's just say my striking career didn't last was a bad month! My Dad was a goalkeeper so it was an obvious transition."

Given how things are going for him now, he probably made the right decision.