The famous former Poland international Zbigniew Boniek fired the first shot ahead of tonight's World Cup qualifier against England when he said that his eight-year-old grandson was a more technically accomplished player than striker Andy Carroll.
Carroll, 23, is highly unlikely to start the match in Warsaw but asked about the merits of the Liverpool striker, on loan at West Ham this season, on Polish television, Boniek was caustic. He said: "My grandson Mateo moves better on the pitch than Andy Carroll. He has better co-ordination. He is very good at golf and tennis."
Boniek is currently the favourite to succeed another celebrated Poland international, Grzegorz Lato, in elections for president of the Polish football association later this year. Yesterday, the Polish coach Waldemar Fornalik presented an upbeat message ahead of the game, although his team are missing captain Jakub Blaszczykowski and striker Artur Sobiech through injury. The midfielder Eugen Polanski was given leave to return to his family this week on what the Polish FA said was a private matter. He will be available to play, they said yesterday.
With Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Poland's first choice, missing through injury it is expected that Fornalik, who took over after Euro 2012, will turn to Przemyslaw Tyton despite the fact the goalkeeper is no longer the first choice at his club side, PSV Eindhoven
Fornalik said last night that his side believed they could beat England. "A wise man told me that if you try to draw a game, you lose. If you try to win, it is possible to win. I've always told my teams we have to go for the three points. The way we plan this game might be different but the objective is to win.
"When I took over the position, I was aware of the fact I would have very little time and that this match was coming up in the calendar. I thought perhaps this match was going to be an opportunity, this match would give us a better picture of what we are after the changes we have implemented.
"It is a very important game but it will not determine the final result of the qualifiers.
"This game is a big event in Polish football. The Euros were a huge event on a European, if not a global, scale. Poland v England has always been of big importance and this is how we see this match as well. The two teams are fighting for the three points. We are aware of the high class of our opponents but we also know what we are worth."Reuse content