BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Arsenal-loanee Krystian Bielik was determined to prove himself after being substituted at half-time of last week’s defeat at Rochdale.
The Polish u21 international was hooked by Charlton boss Lee Bowyer during the 1-0 defeat at Spotland, with the Addicks manager saying that he needed to learn from the experience.
The 20-year-old made sure that he put that right with a dominant display during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers at The Valley.
“I don’t really want to speak about that game (at Rochdale) because I never come off after 45 minutes,” explained Bielik.
“That was something new for me. I was feeling like I knew it was not my best game. It was lower than my standard. It was his decision and I have to accept it. Of course, straight after when he said I was coming off I was thinking it’s going to be tough now for me.
“I have to do my best in training to show him that I am good to play and I deserve to play games for 90 minutes and not just 45. We had a proper meeting with him and he said that no one is safe in this team. Everyone has to fight for their place because he believes in quality for this team. Not just 11, but 23 players.
“Everyone can have a bad game. That was the gaffer’s decision to take me off. The lads shook my hands and said to keep your head up. I’m a guy that can live with that he took me off at half-time. You have to clear your head and believe in your quality. Start again next week.
“In training you have to show that I should stay on the pitch, that I should play. I did well in training and he believed in me again. He put me in from the start at centre-back and we’ve done well as a team. I want to do this again on Tuesday (at Walsall) and in training.
“We’ve made big progress in training between last week and this week. I saw that. We needed to clear the air in the dressing room. Now everyone knows that if they do well in training, they’ve got a chance.
“For example, Marshy (Mark Marshall) wasn’t in the squad for a few weeks. Now he’s done really well in training and he got his chance. He helped us so much today. He got the ball and dribbled, great crosses. You can see that he is staying after training and practicing it.
“I spoke with him a lot. He helps me a lot as well. I think we’ve got really professional players here and it’s a great place to be because I can learn a lot. There’re so many players that had a good career like Darren Pratley. He’s had a great career, he’s a good guy, and he helps me a lot as well.”
Bowyer had deployed Beilik as a defensive midfielder at Rochdale, a move that has paid off before this season. However, some of the Arsenal youngster’s best performances have come at centre-half and he reverted to that role against Donny on Saturday.
“I feel more comfortable as a centre-back,” he admitted.
“The gaffer took me off at half-time last Saturday. He wasn’t happy. I think he’ll see as well that I feel better as a centre-back. I showed today that I can really help the team if I play as a centre-back. I’ve played a few games – Southend, Fleetwood – as a centre-mid and it was fine but maybe I found it a bit more difficult against Rochdale. Sometimes you have a bad day. I feel I can play as a midfielder but it just wasn’t my day.”
Photos by Kyle Andrews and PA