Following the news that Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny has signed a new long-term deal at the Emirates, it might not just be Gunners fans smiling this afternoon.
Perhaps the news has passed him by, but if Manchester City’s Joe Hart is sitting in front of Sky Sports News as he waits for Tuesday’s international against Germany, he would do well to reflect on Szczesny’s change of fortune.
After all, this is a player who was suddenly dropped by Arsene Wenger back in March – a decision that prompted numerous headlines declaring his time in North London was coming to an end.
Szczesny’s father also got involved, complaining about his son’s treatment by the Frenchman. And yet Wenger’s decision ultimately proved the catalyst for a change of fortune that has now seen the ‘keeper sign a new deal.
Speaking to the Telegraph last month, Szczesny reflected on his demotion, saying, “Looking back now it was a good lesson for me, one that I needed at the time. I definitely have got sharper since then, I have worked harder in training and it worked back then for me and I have carried on doing it.”
They are words Hart would do well to heed given his current predicament at the Etihad. Dropped – or rested if Manuel Pellegrini is to be believed – after a series of mistakes, the England ‘keeper finds himself in the shadow of the imposing Costel Pantilimon.
For how long, no one knows, seemingly not even Pellegrini. But Hart can take heart from Szczesny’s good news.
It is time for him to work harder than ever, to ensure he regains his spot for both City and his national team.
With a contract until the summer of 2016, Hart may not be signing a new one any time soon, but he can follow the Arsenal stopper’s lead by regaining his place, and ensuring the only decisions made about his future are the ones that ensure he remains for the long haul.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald