Battle-hardened City flyer ready for Euros' assault
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited
Przemyslaw Placheta admitted he did fear for his place in Poland’s European Championship squad after a lack of game time during Norwich City’s promotion push.
The 23-year-old is in Paulo Sousa’s plans for the upcoming tournament, which kicks off against Slovakia on June 14 before facing group favourites, Spain, and then Sweden.
Placheta only made his international debut in November 2020, under previous national boss Jerzy Brzeczek, but is ready to grab his chance on the biggest stage of his career.
“Paulo Sousa is undoubtedly a very experienced coach and has a plan for this national team,” said Placheta. “He called me and we mainly talked about his expectations of my game.
"He emphasised that I have to fight for a place in Norwich, because I have a chance to be part of the national team, but I had to show my skills in the matches.
“It is natural when you play less, you think about the source of this situation and try to look for better solutions. One thing does not change, you have to work hard because when an opportunity comes, you have to take advantage of it.
"I was focusing on fighting for my place in the club. That meant additional training, because I didn't want to leave myself short physically. It's important to be ready when the coach expects it.”
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Placheta’s international bow in a 2-0 friendly win over Ukraine before Christmas underlined his early eye-catching impact for the Canaries, following his summer move from Slask Wroclaw.
“I found out from the media. When I heard I must admit that it was a surprise for me,” he said. “I would like to thank the previous coach for giving me the opportunity to make my debut. I think I used my chance somehow.
"Various decisions are made in football, but as a player you have to adapt. Whenever I get a chance, I try to use it.
“I was proud to be called up for a training camp, but I am aware I am still young and I feel that I am constantly developing and have entered the next stage in my career. I try to derive experience from every situation and every match.”
Placheta made an eye-catching competitive debut for Poland, alongside the legendary Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, against Tim Krul’s Holland in a 2-1 Nations League home defeat.
But the City flyer was an unused substitute at Wembley for March’s World Cup qualifying defeat to England, after a 30-minute cameo against Andorra a few days earlier.
That mirrored his reduced involvement at club level in the final part of the season, with Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia nailing down those spots behind Teemu Pukki in the final third of the pitch.
Placheta had to settle for a series of cameos from the bench but believes he is a more rounded player now for his debut season in England.
“I knew what I was signing up for, I realised that there would be a lot of competition in the team and that it would not be easy,” he said, speaking to Polish sports newspaper, Przegląd Sportowy. “I set my mind accordingly, but I must admit that it was a big challenge for me.
"However, I decided to take this step because I can learn a lot and gain a lot. I really have nothing to worry about, quite the contrary. I approach it positively. As a team, we have achieved our goal and there is a lot to do.
"It was definitely a turning point for me (in my career). First of all, this year allowed me to look at football from a different angle. In Slask, we played mainly with a quick attack and counter-attack.
"I came to Norwich at a point where we were dominating games and more in possession. I feel that I have developed in this respect.
“There is no need to hide, however, that in recent months I have learned a lot, not only in terms of football, but above all mentally. I feel that I am climbing, and for me that feeling of constant development is the most important.
"Without mistakes and failures in football a player would not get better, so I also appreciate the difficult moments.”