‘Bart’s had a smile on his face from ear to ear’ - watch Bialkowski’s stunning highlight reel that earned Poland call
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Bartosz Bialkowski hasn’t stopped smiling since discovering he has been called into the Poland squad for the first time.
The Ipswich Town goalkeeper will be involved in friendly games against Nigeria and South Korea later this month, with his stunning form for the Blues giving him the chance to stake his claim ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Manager Mick McCarthy insisted the 30-year-old fully deserved the call-up and believes he now has a real chance to secure his spot on the plane this summer.
“Bart’s had a smile on his face from ear to ear since yesterday,” McCarthy said.
“I got a call from his coach while I was out on the training ground watching training on Thursday and I’m delighted for him.
“Who knows, he’s got a bit of momentum now he’s got in the squad and maybe he will travel to the World Cup. I sincerely hope he does and, while he’s there, he might play.
“He certainly deserves it because of the performances he’s produced here and, if you’re judging on what we’ve seen of him here he’s been head and shoulders one of the best goalkeepers in the league the last two seasons, so he does deserve his call-up.
Before pushing towards the Poland squad, Bialkowski’s first job after joining Ipswich in 2014 was to secure the No.1 spot in a battle with Dean Gerken, with McCarthy quick to praise both of his goalkeepers.
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“It got to the stage where if Bart was playing or Gerks was playing, if they played and got in the team they would stay there and the other would start in the cup games,” McCarthy said.
“It always took for one of them to get injured or for something to happen for the other one to get in the team.
“I guess, thankfully for Bart, he’s maintained his fitness and nothing’s happened to him because he had a bereavement (he lost his father Marek in 2015) when he came out of the team one time.
“He’s just stayed there despite Gerks being great whenever he’s had to play or in the cup.
“Bart’s been exceptional.”
Bialkowski will still only be 32 when the 2020 European Championships come around, with McCarthy predicting his goalkeeper will continue to play for another decade.
“He’s really slim, slender and athletic and will probably play until he’s 40, Bart, but I’m sure he will want to play in this one – a World Cup in Russia,” the Blues boss said.
“If you get in the squads it’s sometimes difficult to get out of it and you have to do a lot wrong.
“If you’re in and you travel then those beneath you have got a lot to do to knock you out the squad.”