Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has made some costly errors this season, which have cost his club valuable points in the standings. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recently benched the 22-year-old stopper, citing “mental fatigue.”
Earlier this week, Szczesny’s father criticized Wenger’s handling of his son. He said Wenger made Szczesny play through pain, then blamed the young goalkeeper for letting down the team, according to TalkSPORT.
“Wenger already started to look for the scapegoat,” Maciej Szczesny told Polish reportedly newspaper Przeglad Sportowy. “It is not the way the boss should behave.
“Wojciech has had two serious injuries. He played with one in April and May [last year]. He shouldn’t have agreed to play that time, but the coach insisted.
“Wenger was playing with the young man’s good health and Wojciech agreed foolishly. In my opinion, Mr. Wenger messed up a lot in April and May. I don’t blame the young man who went along with his coach, his current lack of form is a result of those two months.
“Then in August there was a foot [ankle] injury after which he played almost instantly. After seven weeks out Wojciech trained for just seven days and played the match. How on earth can he be on his highest form?
“This last period has not been successful for Wojciech, the fact that Arsene Wenger did not take him to Munich shows something,”
Predictably, the elder Szczesny’s comments didn’t go over well in North London. Wojciech Szczesny told the Arsenal website that his father’s words were both unacceptable and disrespectful.
“I would like to apologize for the comments made by my father which have been used by both Polish and English media,” the younger Szczesny said. “I’d like to make it clear that those were the views and opinions of my father and not mine, and although I respect his views I cannot accept them as I find them disrespectful to the club I truly love.
“I have been at Arsenal Football Club for seven years now and I have always shown my full respect to the club, Arsene Wenger, all the coaching staff, my team-mates and the fans.
Szczesny’s loss of form has sparked widespread speculation that Wenger is looking to replace the Polish goalkeeper in the summer.
The Szczesnys may disagree about Wenger’s role in Wojciech’s troubles, but both of them think his long-term future lies at Arsenal.
“I’ve always felt that I received great support from the manager and the fans and I am fully focused on getting back to my best,” Wojciech Szczesny said. “I am proud to be a part of Arsenal and I see my future at this great club.”
The elder Szczesny concurred at the end of his attack on Wenger.
“However, I think my son can be the number one [Arsenal] keeper over 10 years, he just needs to come back to form and then a situation where we can stop to wonder who will stand between the posts.”
There’s a longstanding sports rule that says mothers must never run onto the field when their sons get hurt or injured. Maybe it’s time to amend it to include a prohibition on fathers blaming the coach for the athletic struggles of their kids. It’s good fun for fans and journalists, but it must make summer vacation a little awkward for the Szczesnys.