Midfielder Purzycki delighted with Poland progress.
- Adrian Purzycki and Poland qualify for Elite stage of U19 European Championships.
- Midfielder talks about the honour of playing international football.
- Tough opponents and conditions for Poland’s youngsters in Cyprus.
His nation’s recent success in the UEFA U19 European Championship qualifying stage in Cyprus, topping their group with seven points, comes as little surprise to the 18-year-old, who says Poland’s hard work is paying off.
How were the three games overall?
"The games were there for us to dominate and that’s exactly what we did.
"We started with a 1-0 victory against Bulgaria, a team which based their play around counter-attacks and deep defending, which at times was extremely hard to break down. Eventually we created chance and made it count in stoppage time in the second half.
"Winning the first game was a great start, and we followed that up with a 3-0 win against Cyprus. They weren’t as organised as Bulgaria which is why we managed to score more goals, but they were aggressive and we had to keep ourselves calm to manage the game properly.
"The second win effectively put us through, but we still had to play Luxembourg who had some very good technical players. It was a team made up of naturalized players from countries such as Portugal and Serbia.
"We ended up drawing the game 2-2, but we were 2-1 down at half time which was probably down to a bit of over confidence, something we’ll use to learn from.
"I played 90 minutes in all three games and found myself playing centre back for the second half against Luxembourg, something I adjusted to well, having played there for the Development Squad so far this season."
What was it like to be away for a prolonged period with the national team?
"It’s always an honour to be called up to play for Poland, and it’s always an enjoyable experience.
"It gives me a wider area to develop my football in, and allows me to experience more football at the top level.
"The games were intense, we had three in the space of six days which means it was essential to concentrate on doing the right things to aid recovery, such as getting enough sleep, ice baths and the correct food types.
"With this, you always get the professional support from the medical department who will look after you to the possible limits."
How were the conditions in Cyprus?
"The average temperature was around 25 degrees which wasn’t extreme, but certainly proved difficult. With the games coming in quick succession we had to be aware to keep hydrated at all times. Obviously it took some adapting to when you compare the weather conditions in England.
"We played two games in Georgia in June, where it was 35 degrees, so we had already prepared for the conditions.
"The pitches were of a good standard for such conditions, which personally I was impressed with."
How is the mood in the Poland squad? How far do you believe you can go in the tournament?
"The atmosphere has been very good, we’re delighted with our progress and now we’re going to be drawn from the first pot of teams for the Elite round, which means we’ll draw another team from the first pot and two teams from the second pot.
"One team goes through to the final tournament from each of the seven groups in the Elite, with Germany (the hosts) automatically through to the finals next summer.
"Our aim is to get to that final tournament, and I think we have the ability as well as the chemistry in the team to do so, but we have to fully concentrate on each game.
"I’m sure if we do that then we’ll have a good chance of proceeding further."
The draw for the Elite stage of the European Championships will be made on Thursday 3 December.
Good luck to Adrian and his team-mates in their efforts to qualify!