Throughout the season, we'll be catching up with our young Gunners to find out more about their route to our academy. This week, it's Michal Rosiak.
My earliest memory of playing football growing up is when I was around five or six. I was with my dad and one of his friends and they would throw the ball to me and I would have to kick it in the goal. It was little moments like that which got me into football in the first place. We were living in a small village in Poland with a little stadium that the local team used to use and it was always easy for us to go and play on that pitch. Growing up I always supported Arsenal!
I was about seven or eight years old when I started playing for my first local team, it was a small Polish team called Głaz Tychowo in my hometown, in the northwest part of Poland, right near the sea.
I moved from Poland to England in 2016 when I was 10 years old. When it came to getting scouted by Arsenal, all I can remember from the day is going to a football tournament with my school. We were playing at Cobham, Chelsea’s training ground, and the scout asked my mum for my number after the tournament. When I walked into Hale End for the first time it was just absolutely amazing, I couldn’t have been more proud of myself to have got there.
I made my Arsenal debut at the Under-11 level and it was special in more than one way... because I didn’t actually wear the Arsenal kit! We were playing away against West Brom and we forgot our kit. We had to wear some old West Brom kit that they found for us on the day. I’m not sure how the kit man forgot to bring our kit, but we didn’t have anything to play in at all, then all of a sudden we’re wearing this white and yellow West Brom kit.
It wasn’t great, but at least we won the game! I think it was 5-1 or 6-1 and I scored two goals and one of them was from the halfway line. So I’ll never forget that.
Playing up the age groups was always a big achievement for me at Hale End. I remember one time with the under-14s I jumped all the way up to play with the under-16s. Those moments and when I got an early scholarship definitely stand out as my proudest achievements so far.
I would say my versatility is a strong part of my game. I am comfortable playing anywhere across the backline, but I would say that my preferred position is central midfield. I’m hard working, I’ll run around a lot, and I just like to be controlling things in the middle of the park for us and build up the momentum of the team.
A part of my game I was working on a lot in pre-season was my free-kicks and I’m still working hard on them with the coaches now. I want to be the free-kick taker for the under- 18s, I was the free-kick taker in the early age groups and scored a fair few of them. Omari Benjamin takes them right now though!
I have a good understanding on the pitch with all the boys, but I especially like linking up with Myles Lewis-Skelly, we definitely play well together. I can rely on him when he plays in midfield with me, I know he’s there behind me or beside me.
"I definitely look up to Emile Smith Rowe. The way he carries the ball is brilliant"
This season I’ve set myself the challenge of starting some games for the U21s and I want to train with the first team too. Speaking of the first team, I definitely look up to Emile Smith Rowe. The way he carries the ball is brilliant, it’s just so hard to get the ball off him! It definitely gives me added motivation to work hard whenever I see Emile, Bukayo Saka or any of the other Hale End graduates score, get an assist, or make a big impression on a match for the first team.
It’s been amazing working with Jack since he joined us. He gives us all those little tips that he’s got from his experiences in the past and is always passing it on to me and the boys. I’m really lucky that he played in the same position as me. I’ve had specific conversations with Jack about the art of being a midfielder.
One conversation, in particular, was about playing in the shadow of the striker when they’re pressing with the number 10 and coming out when the ball is travelling to one of the centre-backs, it was really insightful.
What I would really like to achieve this season is to win the FA Youth Cup. Obviously, Arsenal has a good history in the competition and Jack has won it before, so it would be great to follow in his footsteps and lift that trophy.
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