Liverpool beat Arsenal to signing of 88-goal Polish striker – Liverpool Echo

It was certainly not the worst week in the life of 17-year-old Polish youth international Mateusz Musialowski.

First, he netted a goal after a mazy dribble against Newcastle United in the U18 Premier League North, then he got another two against Sutton United in the FA Youth Cup.

Then last weekend, he was one of the starlets to step up in the intra-squad match with a few first-team players at the AXA Training Centre in Kirkby.

So who is the young winger, who says he models his dribbling on Lionel Messi?

“What I can tell you is that he started his football career when he was five at the local club, Ajaks Czestochowa,” Polish-based Liverpool supporter Karolina Kurek told the ECHO as part of the latest Academy Show podcast from Blood Red.

“His coach was great with the young players as he didn’t really care about the results and instead, just made the players enjoy it.

“There is a problem with lots of coaches in Poland because they stop players from doing natural things at junior level and instead they teach them tactics from a young age.

“But he didn’t say ‘just pass it’ – he let them show their skills. He wanted the players to play their own way and he wanted them to dribble.”

That was the first move as Musialowski played for a few clubs in his homeland at various levels.

“When Musialowski was nine years old, he switched from Ajaks Czestochowa to Rakow Czestochowa and his coach was not happy about it,” Kurek continued.

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“Rakow Czestochowa is a good team in Poland – they play in the first division – but this team is always taking the youngest stars!

“Musialowski played there as a winger and a coach of his, Mariusz Solecki, said that not only did he win the player of the tournament, but was the top goalscorer.

“In 88 matches, he scored 133 goals! He can play in any offensive position and is very good at dribbling, but he still has to put work into his defensive ability.

“When he moved to SMS Lodz, his coach first played him as a winger then switched his position to number 10 and then number nine.

“Lodz are well-known for working with youngsters and they are really well-regarded as a football team – they always have players that can play professional football.”

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Lodz was Musialowski’s final team in Poland, and he only signed for Liverpool from them last August, working with Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and the U18s ever since.

Along with fellow new signing Melkamu Frauendorf, the Pole has been a mainstay of the team, settling into life on Merseyside at a time when it can’t have been easy to move countries, not least at such a young age.

There were plenty of other teams looking at the starlet, too, though, and another big one in England, Kurek believes.

“When Musialowski played at Rakow Czestochowa, he drew some big club’s attention,” she added.

“He was involved in a Legia Warsaw football training camp but his parents weren’t sure about the move to Warsaw.

“They chose SMS Lodz instead that’s because he could commute to Lodz twice a week for training and then for the third time for a weekend’s match.

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“In Warsaw, it was out of the question – he would have to move in – so basically his parents had an influence on his first steps.

“There were later many indications that he would go to Arsenal, where he was tested on a few occasions but their academy coaches weren’t sure whether to sign him or not.

“Maybe they were waiting too long because Stellar Group (football agency) stepped in and sent him to Liverpool.”

His dribbling talents in training and matches have always been evident, but now he has added numbers to his game too with five goals in his last five appearances.

That now makes it seven goals and two assists in 16 fixtures in all this season – an excellent debut campaign.

There is still much to do until Musialowski can be considered anything close to a first-team player at Anfield, but his talent is clear.

And Jurgen Klopp, of course, has a history of forming gems from Polish starlets – just ask Jakub Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski.