“Remember the name – Mateusz Musialowski.”
Those were the words Polish FA President Zbigniew Boniek posted on his Twitter account in 2016, after watching Poland u14s score 12 goals past Lithuania. 13-year old Musialowski the stand-out player.
Now, aged 17, the Liverpool youngster is determined to grow into his given name.
Mateusz Musialowski is a well-known man – or, more precisely, boy – in Poland. After seeing his displays up front for Rakow Czestochowa, Skra Czestochowa and finally SMS Lodz – scoring 133 goals in 88 games for the latter since his 13th birthday – scouts throughout the country had scurried for his signature.
Though it wasn’t until he went to visit relatives in Bristol, and enrolled at a soccer camp to keep him occupied, that English scouts became aware of the youngster.
Arsenal were allegedly the first to take note. Fortunately for the Reds, the Gunners’ reserves were in a state of hierarchical transition, so a move to North London never materialised.
It was now Liverpool’s turn to strike. After spotting the Katowice-born forward on international duty with Poland, the Reds played their cards and Musialowski eventually signed on August 1, 2020.
This looked like a special signing. Praised by various coaches in Poland for his composure on the ball and the ease in which he skips and dances around players as if magic has possessed his legs, there is an extraordinary quality about Musialowski which makes him stand out for club and country.
“That doesn’t always come with a Polish player,” UK-based Polish FA scout Przemek Soczynski told The Athletic. “He’s got the wow factor.”
Also, not to forget – he is both footed.
Standing at roughly 5ft 7in, Musialowski isn’t the tallest of players, but he makes up for this in many ways. Contributing all across the front three positions – most notably on the left wing, scoring five and assisting one in nine games on the flank – his ability to run and get past players with relative ease make him a great option to cut inside and provide his services.
However, he has scored five across seven games in the centre-forward rand attacking midfield roles. In total, he has 12 goals and three assists to his name in 24 appearances.
Musialowski also had a role to play in the recent win against Arsenal to clinch their place in the FA Youth Cup semi-final. Mystifying the defence of his once potential team, he drove a left-footed strike into the Kop’s net.
He finally retrieved the attention that he deserves though after a stunning solo strike against Newcastle United in March.
It won the LFC Goal of the Month award – the only month at that point in which the prize hadn’t gone to Mohamed Salah – after the Pole beat up to five players before striking it sweetly beyond Max Thompson.
“I just ran with the ball. When I see the space, I just go for it. I have seen a lot of Lionel Messi goals like that, so I try to be like him and I want to repeat it,” Musialowski said about the goal.
The way he moves with the ball does indeed seem to emulate Messi at times – giving an edge to the u18s, who are lucky to have such a talent among their ranks.
Since moving to Liverpool from eastern Europe almost a year ago (he currently lives with a foster family in the city, as his family were unable to come with him), he has more than earned his place as an immediate starter for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side.
Coronavirus would have surely made life harder for Musialowski, especially with close relatives unable to visit him, but he has more than prevailed in England – having been selected to train with the first team numerous times already at such a young age.
He even reportedly managed to get a nutmeg over Fabinho.
“It’s great. I get a lot of the ball, so the staff and my teammates are helping me to play my game. So it’s really nice. I feel like I’m getting fitter and stronger now. I am working hard and want to improve,” said the 17-year-old.
Although proving an enthusiastic talent, Przemek Soczynski told The Athletic that there is always room for improvement, especially on the tactical side.
“He needs to develop his tactical skills, making decisions on the pitch. As sometimes he is losing the ball but at this age, he is being given the green light to dribble past those players. But in the u23s or in the first-team they need him to make better decisions.”
Musialowski still needs time to develop in areas – not to forget prized experience at the top level. But, if nurtured properly, the Pole will surely come to surface at some point – whether that be next season or some point further into the future.
With Jürgen Klopp putting his trust in youth players such as Curtis Jones, Rhys Williams, Neco Williams and others, the Pole could see his chance arrive soon enough – and what a chance that would be for a player like him.
“Remember the name – Mateusz Musialowski.”
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