Arsenal’s famed academy, Hale End is never short of yielding prodigies. After developing and promoting the likes of Tony Adams, Cesc Fabregas, Ashley Cole, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe to name a few, the latest work-in-progress of the academy in focus is 17-year-old Michal Rosiak.
How it All Started:
At the age of 7, Rosiak started playing for a relatively obscure Polish team called Glaz Tychowo in his hometown Bialogard. 3 years later the 10-year-old boy moved to England with his parents and was an integral part of his school’s football team. Following an impressive run in a tournament with his school at Cobham training ground in the country’s south-west village of Stoke d’Abernon, Rosiak’s mother was approached by Arsenal scouts interested in the young player’s potential.
After joining the academy in 2016, the Polish international made his Arsenal under-11 debut against West Brom. It didn’t take long for him to adjust to his new surroundings as he managed to score twice in his debut including a strike from the half-way line. Rosiak quickly jumped through the ranks and the age-groups, establishing a name for himself because of his versatality of playing as both, a mid-fielder and a right-back.
In an interview at the end of the 2021-22 season, Rosiak acknowledged his dynamic ability to play in different positions and said: “I would say my versatility is a strong part of my game. I am comfortable playing anywhere across the backline, but I would say that my preferred position is central midfield. I’m hard working, I’ll run around a lot, and I just like to be controlling things in the middle of the park for us and build up the momentum of the team.”
The 2022-23 season was a crucial turning point for the Pole. He made his way to the club’s under-18 side where he was tutored by former Hale End graduate Jack Wilshere.
The 2022-23 Season:
Rosiak had a break-through campaign in 2022-23. Under-18 coach Wilshere insisted on the academy player to play as a right-back despite Rosiak believing his natural position to be higher up as a midfielder. The Polish international went on to make a total of 17 appearances in the Under-18 Premier League, FA Youth Cup and the Premier League 2 competitions.
The defender was a significant part of the club’s FA Youth Cup journey to the finals. He netted 4 goals in 6 appearances in the Cup run which included a stoppage time winner in the quarter-final against Cambridge United to secure a 3-2 victory and an imperative free-kick in the semi-final against Manchester City’s U-18 side that saw his side win 2-1 and make their way to the final. The goal against City saw the player attain massive recognition including praise from Arsenal’s star-player Bukayo Saka.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) April 4, 2023
Apart from the FA Youth Cup, Rosiak secured a stunning record of 3 goals and 7 assists in the Under 18 Premier League competition in 10 starts. The end of the campaign meant that the 17-year-old defender had the remarkable tally of 14 goal contributions in 17 appearances for his side. The impressive season also saw the young-gun earning a call-up for international duty for Poland’s Under-18 side.
Michal Rosiak – Turing Pro at Arsenal:
Rosiak’s phenomenal 2022-23 season made it clear to the club’s staff that he is a player to hang on to. On 29th April 2023, Arsenal awarded the defender his first professional contract. Rosiak commented: “Signing my first professional contract for Arsenal means everything to me, it’s pretty amazing. Playing for the club I’ve always loved and watched growing up, hopefully it will be the first of many contracts. I want to win major trophies with the club. t’s pretty amazing to wear the Arsenal shirt, especially when you think of the past and what kind of players wore this shirt, and obviously Jack Wilshere our coach as a player, and a coach now.”
He further spoke about adapting to his defensive role by saying: “I think my progress has been very good, I’ve been progressing very well. I prefer to be a midfielder but if it’s an inverted full-back, I can do that! I’ve been practising free-kicks quite a lot, I’m trying to master the technique to score more goals from set pieces.”
Michal Rosiak signs his first professional contract with Arsenal — 17yo right back has agreed terms today. ⚪️🔴 #AFC
“Signing my first professional contract for Arsenal means everything to me, it’s pretty amazing. Playing for the club I’ve always loved and watched growing up”. pic.twitter.com/Wt80fQGhrk
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 29, 2023
What to Expect Going Forward:
As Arsenal Football Club as a whole prepares to get underway for the crucial 2023-24 season ahead, it is certain that 17-year-old Michal Rosiak is determined to go in the same positive direction. The player will certainly be looking forward to training with the first-team and securing significant minutes in the FA Youth Cup and Premier League 2 with the U-21 side.
It will be particularly interesting to see the playing position adopted by Rosiak in the upcoming season. Even though the young Pole excelled as a right-back last season, he has gone on to reiterate his desire to play in mid-field time and again. In an interview he expressed admiration for Hale End produced mid-fielder Emile Smith Rowe: “Speaking of the first team, I definitely look up to Emile Smith Rowe. The way he carries the ball is brilliant, it’s just so hard to get the ball off him! It definitely gives me added motivation to work hard whenever I see Emile, Saka or any other Hale End graduate score, assist, or make a big impression in a match.”
He further revealed: “I’ve had specific conversations with Jack Wilshere about the art of being a midfielder. He gives us all those little tips that he’s got from his experiences in the past and is always passing it on to me and the boys.”
Despite the dilemma faced by the player and the coaching staff on setting a fixed playing position for him, it can be undoubtedly said that Michal Rosiak is certain to be a name to watch for in the upcoming campaign and an exciting prospect for fans to look forward to.