Bialkowski named in Poland squad for World Cup
PUBLISHED: 13:19 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:51 04 June 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski has been named in Poland's World Cup squad.
Bialkowski, now a three-time supporters’ player of the year at Portman Road, is one of three goalkeepers selected by national team manager Adam Nawalka and follows Ipswich team-mate Jonas Knudsen to Russia following his call-up by Denmark.
For Bialkowski, a spot in his country’s World Cup squad is the latest high in a stunning three-year spell which has seen him perform at a consistently high level for his club to force his way onto the international scene.
The 30-year-old only received his first Poland call-up in March, having won caps at junior level, with his debut against Nigeria fulfilling a promise he made to his late father, Marek, in their final conversation before he passed away in the summer of 2015.
“It was my last chat with him and I promised him I was going to get a call-up, so it’s all for him,” Bialkowski said, speaking in March.
“I’ve been patient and working so hard to get that call-up so to be in the Polish squad is like a dream come true.
“I’ve always been dreaming about it and finally I’m there, so I just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing and make sure it’s not just a one off and a longer period in the team.
“But I also knew it would be hard because there are so many good Polish keepers, although I never stopped believing.”
Bialkowski beat out competition from Roma’s Lukasz Skorupski for the third goalkeeping spot, with Juventus ‘keeper Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski of Swansea the other two stoppers in the party.
Poland play two warm-up games at home to Chile (June 8) and Lithuania (June 12) before heading to Russia, where they have been drawn against Senegal, Colombia and Japan in the group stage of the tournament.
Nine players have previously won caps at World Cups, with John Wark and Alan Brazil representing Scotland in 1982, where Mick Mills, Paul Mariner and Terry Butcher all played for England. Bontcho Guentchev featured for Bulgaria in 1994.
Matt Holland (Republic of Ireland) and Amir Karic (Slovenia) played at the 2002 World Cup, while Tommy Smith represented New Zealand in 2010.