Arsenal keeper on learning curve
Wojciech Szczesny may have come a long way in a short time, but the Arsenal keeper insists he still has plenty to learn.
The Poland international has seized his chance to become the Gunners' number one and will be looking to maintain impressive form as Arsenal aim to secure safe passage into the knockout stages of the Champions League with victory over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night.
It was, though, not that long ago that Szczesny was on loan at npower League One Brentford before inconsistent displays by Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski saw him handed a first-team chance.
There is no doubt Szczesny has the confidence to succeed at the highest level, but despite such a positive personality, the 21-year-old accepts more lessons lie ahead.
"I still need to prove myself at this club, to work hard every day and prove myself as a number one," said Szczesny, who insists the last-minute mix-up at Wembley which cost Arsenal the chance of Carling Cup glory in February is very much in the past.
"I am going to keep working hard and doing my best. I am satisfied, but you can always be much better.
"I can improve on every single aspect of my game. There is no finished article in football. I am only 21, so I try to improve every aspect.
"I am just focusing on doing my job properly and if my manager and team-mates appreciate it, then I am happy."
Szczesny added: "People still say I am over confident, but I am a big critic of myself.
"If I watch a game the day after I played it, I look at the mistakes I have made and I try to learn from them.
"I speak to the coaches and we analyse every little mistake and it's all to make me improve.
"There is a lot of room for improvement, I believe."
Arsenal recorded a fifth straight Barclays Premier League win when they beat Norwich 2-1 at Carrow Road on Saturday to move within striking distance of the top four.
It is some turnaround in fortunes following an appalling start to the season, which saw the Gunners slump to 17th.
Szczesny continued: "I feel the improvement.
"We work together on the training ground and it seems to be working during the games.
"We are much more confident, we concede less goals and I hope we can keep it going."
Wenger feels Szczesny's career is heading in the right direction.
The Arsenal boss said: "He has done extremely well. What is very positive is that there is a lot more [to come].
"He works hard in training to improve, is focused and humble, so like the rest of the team I think he has a good attitude and a good spirit."
Victory on Wednesday would see Arsenal qualify with a match to spare, although not necessarily at the top of Group F.
Much like the Gunners, Dortmund have found their form in recent weeks, although they still face a struggle to avoid elimination.
Wenger knows just what a "big test" is ahead, given Dortmund's 1-0 win at Bayern Munich which saw Jurgen Klopp's side cut the deficit on the Bundesliga leaders down to two points.
"Both teams have improved since - we have grown, they have grown," said Wenger, whose side drew 1-1 at the Signal Iduna Park in September.
"Every player and every member of staff is conscious that it is a very important night for us.
"It is another big test for our solidity and we will go into the game with that attitude, concentration and desire to win.
"We feel strong enough to be at home and finish the job."
Mario Gotze is Dortmund's flair player, having scored the winner at Bayern Munich and continues to attract reports of a big-money move - with Arsenal a possible destination.
Wenger, though, insisted: "We have a big squad and we are not after anybody.
"Gotze is a very good player. I can understand there is a lot of interest in him around Europe.
"On our side, I do not think this is the best time to talk about it.
"We play against Dortmund tomorrow and we must concentrate on the game, not transfers."