Dunfermline Athletic

Jakub Stolarczyk first interview

Tuesday, 1st Feb 2022

JS - “ I want that physical challenge. I want to prove to people I can deal with the pressure.

Dunfermline’s latest loan signing Jakub Stolarczyk is hoping that his move to play in Scotland will help him emulate the impressive career of his Leicester City mentor, Kasper Schmeichel.

The Danish keeper who has represented his country 78 times was just 20 year old and had been out on loan at Darlington and Bury when he moved north to play for Falkirk in January 2007. Falkirk were managed at that time by none other than John Hughes and made the first of his 17 appearances for the Bairns against Dunfermline Athletic.

Hughes claimed that Kasper had given Jakub a strong recommendation. The 21 year old Pole had not spoken to Kasper in person about the move but had messaged him asking how it is in Scotland. Jakub revealed:-

“He said as a young goalkeeper, one of the first loan spells was to go up to Scotland under John Hughes, just go and take it. He was very supportive.”

Like Jakub, Kasper was fourth choice keeper at an English Premier League side when he came to Scotland and working with John Hughes did the young Schmeichel no harm whatsoever.

“If I follow Kasper`s (career path), great, I`ll take that, but we know football is a strange game. You can write so many different scenarios that you don`t even expect.”

After moving from Poland to Leicester as a 16 year old Jakub has enjoyed the experience of training with Kasper.

“Being able to get to know Kasper, training with him and see what he does, his rituals before the games, after the games, whatever, is something that is never going to be taken away from you. It’s only up to you how you go on to use it in your career.”

Above: Kasper Schmeichel in his debut in Scottish football

The 35 year old keeper who has now made over 450 appearances for Leicester is so supportive to young lads said Jakub:-

“His work ethic, and the kind of person he is as well. He can give you a bit of a hard time, but that`s only your learning curve. This will only take you to the next level, and the amount of times he has helped me out, just with improving my abilities in the goal. As a young keeper, you probably can`t imagine anything better for you than to train with him.

“Obviously you want to take it as an aspiration, but you need to have a belief in yourself that you can go even a bit further. But, that`s a long way, I`m not too worried about that. I want to focus now on this period, being at this club, and helping this club.”

Once Jakub heard about the possibility of his move to Scotland he could not get on his way fast enough. He explained how his move came about:-

“I think it was Friday morning or Thursday evening, I got a call from my agent asking what do I think about Dunfermline? My first answer was, ‘get it done. I don’t care how long it takes or whatever, the next day I want to travel there’. That’s how excited I was and I couldn’t wait to get it done.

“Dunfermline are in the Scottish Championship and in my position as a goalkeeper I want that physical challenge. I want to prove to people I can deal with the pressure. Coming here and knowing that the club wants me as well, because they were really keen to take me, I can’t ask for any more. All I need to do is just show up and do my job.”

Few players new to the club have arrived so well versed in the club’s history and he confirmed that he had done some fact finding:-

“I had heard about Dunfermline before, because of their history back in the day, but also I wanted to find out where I was going. I didn’t want to come to the place and not know anything about it. So, I’ve been finding out more, about European competitions, winning the Scottish Cup twice.

“It’s something that gives me a buzz, to come into such a historic club. For me, it feels so much better coming to the club and knowing something about it. If people are going to ask me questions I can answer them and I know where I am. That was what was behind my research.

“That was very exciting. I could have driven here over the weekend already to show up and be here - that’s how excited I was. I was already packing on Friday.”

Jakub says that he wants to get some experience and games out of his loan spell at Dunfermline while hoping to be able to add strength to the effort to climb out of the Championship:-

“I want to help the club. From the history of the club, it deserves to be in the top division and so I want to help the club get to the place where they should be.

“With that comes game-time and experience from the games and experience from the whole spell. I especially want to help the club because it’s a bit sad looking at the club and the history of what it was, and the struggles that they’ve been through. I think the club deserves to be in the top division.”

Jakub joined up with the squad on Tuesday morning and trained with fellow keepers Owain Fôn Williams and Deniz Mehmet. He had nothing but good to say about his first impressions:-

“It was such a nice experience training with Fonners knowing that he has played over 500 senior football games. Another experienced keeper that I have to train with. It is all up to me how I’m going to take every day that I’m going to be here.”

Seeing the name of Stolarczyk on the first team sheet is the ambition for him. Jakub has been on the bench for three Europa League games and a couple of cup games as well, he continued:-

“You get to the stage when you want to make a step forward in your career that you don’t want to be stuck in the same spot. Being involved with the first team for a few Europa League games and then a few cup games it gives you that taste of first team football. It is so much different to when you are playing and that is what I’m coming here looking for and hopefully I will get it.”

Jakub related his journey in football this far, praising his parents for their support and courage to allow their young man to travel to and live in a foreign country:-

“When I turned sixteen I was allowed to come over to England and sign for Leicester City Football Club. I have been at Leicester for almost six years.

“It is all down to my family. As a young boy of sixteen when you hear that a club outside your country wants you, you are not thinking about anything you just want to go. That’s where your family comes in to it.

“They never tried to stop me. Back then it was probably a bigger decision for them than it was for me. To let a young boy go to the country that my dad as a truck driver had only been to a few times, that was a bigger decision for them. It was great credit to them that they let me go, they supported me all the way through until this moment and they are going to do it for many many years. They let me go and trusted me.

“Before I left Poland I must have proved to them that I could deal with what was going to come. The biggest credit should go to my mum and my dad.”

The young Stolarczyk grew up idolising Poland and Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc and he is confident that he can make a good attempt to follow in his footsteps.

“When I was a kid just starting to love football, Artur Boruc was my inspiration back then. He was my big idol as I watched him in the national team and at Celtic.

“When I was playing football in the back yard or with friends I was always saying ‘I was the Boruc’ in goal. Coming here knowing what he has done in this country, it is at the back of your head that you have some boots to fill. But I feel quite confident about it and if I didn’t, I would never have come here.”

Watch Jakub’s interview with Jordan Burt for ParsTV

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