Derby County’s Krystian Bielik secured his first-ever call-up to the Poland national side last month – and he’s determined to grasp the opportunity to impress on the international stage.
The 21-year-old, capable of playing in the holding midfield position or in central defence, joined Phillip Cocu’s side in the summer transfer window from Premier League giants Arsenal.
After building up his fitness following a fractured pre-season, owing to his international commitments at Under-21 level with Poland in June and his subsequent move to Pride Park Stadium, he has started Derby’s last four league fixtures.
His early-season form, as well as an impressive loan spell at Charlton Athletic last season, saw him called up to the Polish squad for their latest 2020 European Championships qualifiers.
They face Slovenia in Ljubljana this evening (8:45pm local time kick-off), before taking on Austria at the National Stadium in Warsaw next Tuesday (8:45pm local time kick-off).
Bielik is hoping to play some part in the games as Poland look to maintain their impressive start to their qualification campaign, having recorded four wins from their first four matches, before returning to Derby next week.
Speaking to dcfc.co.uk, Bielik said: “I made it, finally! I’ve come from the Under-16 group and managed to progress through to the senior squad.
“I feel like I’ve earned it by coming through the youth teams. Last season went well for me at Charlton Athletic on loan and then with the Under-21 tournament in the summer too, which led to me joining Derby.
“As soon as I got the call-up, and once I arrived with the squad, I couldn’t wait to get started.
“The team is in a good place to qualify for the European Championships next summer so it’s an exciting time for the Poland national side. We want to keep going and it’s pleasing too that the manager is keen to include young players in the squad.”
He added: “I will do my best in every session, try to get some minutes if I can to make my debut, which would be a proud moment, and then return to Derby for the big games we have coming up.”
Bielik has racked up over 20 appearances at youth international level for Poland, from the Under-16s right through to the Under-21s.
He has enjoyed the journey he has been on and believes those experiences will stand him in good stead as he looks to make the step-up to international football.
He said: “I guess you could say it’s rare for players to play in every age group and progress to the national side.
“For me, I’ve been on that journey. As an example, Robert Lewandowski played just a few games for the Under-21s but he is now one of the best strikers in Europe and the world. He is world class.
“I personally have enjoyed coming through the teams because I know what it’s like to be with a national group. It’s not new to me in that sense, but clearly now I am stepping up to be with some top, top players.
“I want to try and show my qualities in senior international football and I believe that I can do this.”