Kacper Kowalczyk Interview
Kacper Kowalczyk is a 16-year old keeper who spent time at Chelsea after moving to England when he was just 4-years old.
Now looking for a new club following his release from Queens Park Rangers, Kacper talks to up about making his Under-18’s debut while on trial with Yeovil, having a trial in Germany & being eligible to represent England.
What’s your style of play?
I like to play as a sweeper keeper. I am very comfortable with my feet and very vocal – I’m capable of directing my team in front of me in a way to allow me to play high and prevent danger.
I am also comfortable with dropping off to play in a “shot stopper” style however it’s always risky to do this, as if you allow your opponents too much space then the situation becomes increasingly more dangerous.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
My main strengths are being comfortable on the ball, loud, precise and clear communication, shot stopping and bravery in 1 vs 1. My weaknesses are clips with my weaker (right) foot, and timing on crosses. However, I’m always working to better these elements whilst simultaneously practicing my strengths.
In training I intend to use my right foot as much as possible to learn the natural movement when striking the ball. I also spend a lot of time practicing crosses, both on and off the pitch.
Sometimes I’ll think myself up scenarios in which I deal with different crosses. Each time I analyse when I should start coming for the cross, how many steps to take and at what angle to position my body to start a quick counter attack.
You started your career at Chelsea, before moving to QPR, what was the difference between the two clubs?
The main difference between the clubs was the amount of staff employed to support the players. At Chelsea there were approximately 5 full-time goalkeeping coaches just for the youth development phase. QPR had to make do with just One.
Obviously, Chelsea has more money available to spend on more coaches, physio analysts, cooks and kit-men so things appear more organised there.
How did it feel to make your Under-18’s debut on trial at Yeovil last month?
I was quite nervous before the game, however I used that anxiety to motivate me before, as well as during the game. I knew I had to remain focused throughout the whole match.
I was surprised at the pressure put on me to play slowly when I had the ball and we were winning. It makes sense as it’s competitive, but it’s so different from Under-16s where I’m told to play quickly but effectively at all times.
In the end, it was great to get the win and the clean sheet.
You also spent time in Germany on trial at St. Pauli, can you tell us more about that?
My time at St. Pauli was amazing; the culture in football is so much different there.
Everyone is treated with respect, just like in England, but it has a sense of the players and coaches being a sort of family. The relationships off the pitch were really positive, which made it easy for them to communicate and play together.
I was also surprised at how well they could all speak English, despite most of them never visiting the country.
Overall, they were all very welcoming and professional in training. There wasn’t any delay on the pitch – everything was done very efficiently which I appreciated.
It was also good to be able to travel by myself as I ended up using the metro and buses to get around. This really helped me settle in as I could explore the area without getting lost.
Did you feel that the EFL trials where useful?
There were definitely a lot of scouts at the trials, and I feel that I presented myself in a good light, standing out from others on the pitch. There has been some interest shown towards me, so I’d say that the trails were quite successful.
You are eligible to play for England as well as Poland?
Yes, I was born in Poland and moved to England at the age of 4. I have a Polish passport however I received my English citizenship in January this year, and am planning on getting an English passport soon.
Do you have a preference of who you would like to represent? And why?
It’s difficult for me to say if I have a preference; I still see myself as Polish because all of my family is Polish, and I was born there. I have also already been attending training camps with the Polish national team in my age group, and that was a great experience.
However, having lived in England for 12 years now, I definitely aspire to represent England.
I’ve played here all my life and know the style of play expected from goalkeepers. As a result, I think it’d be more natural for me to play for England.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years I’ll be 21, so I’m hoping that by that time I’d have signed a professional contract. I also hope to be representing either Poland or England by then, as international matches are even better ways to gain experience than league matches. Whatever happens, I know that I’ll be working hard on improving myself physically, mentally and technically as a goalkeeper.
Connect with Kacper here: http://football-wonderkids.co.uk/profile-2/kacper/
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