Łukasz Fabiański returned to his old stamping ground at Legia Warszawa last weekend but he was looking to the future, not the past.
The Polish international goalkeeper played the first 45 minutes of his Arsenal FC side's 6-5 friendly win over Legia in a match to mark the opening of their refurbished Wojska Polskiego stadium. If it was an opportunity to gauge the progress of his old club, Fabiański's sights were focused rather on his own prospects for a 2010/11 campaign that begins with Poland's friendly against Cameroon on Wednesday.
Fabiański spoke positively about his aims of establishing himself as No1 for both club and country as he told UEFA.com: "I hope it will be a breakthrough season for me. I have a double task. I want to become the No1 in the Arsenal goal and that would help me to realise my second target – to be No1 in the national team. Our preparations for UEFA EURO 2012 are gathering pace and it is a good time to show the coach [Franciszek Smuda] he can rely on me."
Fabiański has earned 15 Poland caps since his debut in 2006, while for Arsenal he has struggled to gain regular first-team football, appearing 13 times in the Premier League in three seasons. He was cautiously optimistic about featuring in the Londoners' season opener at Liverpool FC on Sunday as he added: "Of course I don't know if I will play but I do believe I will as I played in many of the pre-season friendlies. I am 25 years old, it is a good time to establish myself in goal for good."
Although Fabiański has made several high-profile errors when playing for Arsenal, he retains confidence in his ability. "It was the same when I started at Legia. Nobody knew me, there were arguments that I was not good enough to be No1 but I got that and moved to one of the biggest clubs in the world. I am ready for the next challenge. I've had no injuries recently, I've worked well and am really prepared to fight for the No1 position as I believe I am good enough to play regularly in a Premier League team."
Fabiański was delighted to see Legia's new-look stadium on Saturday and said it was vital Polish football seized the opportunity that co-hosting UEFA EURO 2012 represents. "This new stadium looks really impressive," he said. "I am proud that my former club are going in the right direction. Polish football is growing. Legia's stadium is one thing, but we will have other beautiful stadiums for the EURO. It is a very important time for Polish football and we cannot miss this chance on and off the field."
Regarding their on-field progress, he is looking forward to Poland's first outing of the campaign against a Cameroon team that figured at the FIFA World Cup. Smuda's side lost their last match 6-0 to Spain in June, but Fabiański said: "We can get more belief if we play well against big teams and I am sure we finally will. We still have enough time to build a good team. I think the coach has a vision, he knows more or less which players he wants to have in the team. Of course, some will be dropped and some will come in, but there won't be massive changes."
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