Bialkowski Confirmed in Poland World Cup Squad
Monday, 4th Jun 2018 13:08
Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski has been confirmed in the Poland squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia. The 30-year-old will be one of two Blues players at the finals, left-back Jonas Knudsen having been named in the Danish travelling party yesterday.
Bialkowski will be the third-choice keeper in the 23-man party behind Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) and Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus).
Roma's Lukasz Skorupski, 27, was the fourth keeper in the 27-man larger squad which trained in Arlamowa last week but picked up a hip injury which although not a serious problem was adjudged to be enough to rule him out of the finals.
Bialkowski, whose last words to his late father were a promise to get a Poland call-up, became Town's first-ever Polish international when he made his debut and currently only international appearance in the 1-0 friendly defeat to Nigeria in March.
“It was my biggest dream come true,” he said after that match. “Now, I need to do everything to stay in the team as long as possible.”
The Poles have been drawn in World Cup Group H along with Senegal, Colombia and Japan.
Prior to travelling to the finals they play Chile in a friendly in Poznań on Friday and Lithuania in Warsaw a week on Tuesday.
Bialkowski, Town's Player of the Year for the third season running in 2017/18, is still to sign the new contract which former manager Mick McCarthy said had been agreed in January but a one-year extension to his current deal, which was up this summer, has been triggered.
Nine Blues players have previously won caps at a World Cup finals. John Wark and Alan Brazil represented Scotland in 1982 when Mick Mills was England’s captain with Paul Mariner and Terry Butcher also in Ron Greenwood’s side.
Bontcho Guentchev featured for Bulgaria in 1994, Matt Holland was in Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland team in 2002, Slovenian defender Amir Karic was still a Town player at the same tournament - the last time two Blues were at the same finals - and most recently Tommy Smith played for New Zealand in 2010.
George Burley was in the Scotland squad in 1982 but didn't play, while John Elsworthy was named in the Wales 22 for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden but the FAW couldn't afford to send a full squad and the left-half remained at home.
All the squads for the finals have now been confirmed and can be found here. Bialkowski will wear Poland's number 12 shirt and Knudsen is Denmark's five.
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