By Maciej Iwanski & Pawel Dimow
When Groclin Grodzisk Dyskobolia Wielkopolski's Sebastian Mila moved to FK Austria Wien back on 9 January, it was, for many in Poland, a long overdue elevation for the 22-year-old.
The son of 1970s Gwardia Koszalin star Stefan Mila, the playmaker has had a colourful career in Poland, having played for Baltyk Koszalin, Lechia Gdansk and Wisla Plock as well as his father's old club before being signed by ambitious Groclin in 2002.
Finishing second in the Ekstraklasa in his first season with Groclin, Mila went on to be one of the stars of their subsequent UEFA Cup campaign last season, as they beat FK Atlantas, Hertha BSC Berlin and Manchester City FC before finally losing to FC Girondins de Bordeaux.
Mila signalled his class by scoring the only goal in Groclin's 1-0 win at City, beating former England goalkeeper David Seaman with a free-kick. "Scoring the free kick in Manchester was something amazing, I could hardly believe it was real," he told uefa.com.
However, it was to provide a major fillip for him in the coming months as he planned his next move. "It was the moment when I confirmed football was a lifetime choice for me," he said. "The same thing happens any time I score for Poland. This is the kind of happiness I can't even explain."
Mila has already won 15 caps and scored three goals for Poland and has proved a valuable addition to their FIFA World Cup squad as Pawel Janas' side aim to overhaul favourites England to win qualifying Group 6. Indeed, many have said that he is the best young player in the country.
"It's great to hear people say things like this, but I know everything about myself," said Mila. "Because of that, I know how far I am from being one of the best European players. But I keep working hard and hopefully one day I will be able to reach a level that would satisfy me."
Such high standards will be just what Mila's new club will be hoping to see the player surpass. Austria are currently second in the Austrian Bundesliga table, just a point adrift of leaders SK Rapid Wien, and perhaps more importantly, have a UEFA Cup last 32 tie against Athletic Club Bilbao to come.
With Groclin having missed out on European football this season, Mila will be eligible to play for his new side in the UEFA Cup and will be hoping to replicate the performances that saw him shine in his first European campaign, as he joins Poland team-mates Krzysztof Ratajczyk and Radoslaw Gilewicz in Vienna.
Thanks in part to heavy investment from Austria's billionaire owner Frank Stronach, Günter Kronsteiner and Lars Söndergaard's side have reached this stage of the competition for the first time in 20 years. Now they will be hoping that Mila's creativity can take them a few steps further.
Meanwhile, having been courted by clubs in England and Spain, Mila is sure that he has chosen the right move in joining Austria. "The team is very good and has a lot of internationally experienced players," he told the club's website. "It was absolutely the correct decision to come here. I can learn a lot."
And if he plays his cards right, his dream move to the Primera División may yet be on the cards.
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