Derby County’s Krystian Bielik made his long-awaited return to the Poland international side on Thursday evening.
The 24-year-old midfielder made his first appearance for his country since November 2019 by coming off the bench in their international friendly against Scotland at Hampden Park.
Bielik was introduced into the action just before half-time, picking up his fourth international cap in the process, and performed as the central centre-back in Poland’s three-man defence.
With Scotland’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Play-Off against Ukraine postponed, and Poland’s clash with Russia also not taking place, the two nations went head-to-head in a fundraising friendly, with the proceeds – £10 from each ticket – going towards UNICEF’s humanitarian response both in Ukraine and in addressing the refugee crisis resulting from the conflict.
The game itself ended in a 1-1 draw. Scotland took the lead courtesy of a header from Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney after 68 minutes, with Poland levelling deep in added time through Krzysztof Piatek's penalty.
Bielik’s prolonged absence from the international stage came because of anterior cruciate ligament injuries during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 campaigns.
His second lay-off forced him to sit out the COVID-19 delayed 2020 UEFA European Championships last summer.
However, he returned to full fitness earlier this year and has made 11 appearances for Derby this season. Bielik also marked his comeback with a dramatic equaliser in the 2-2 draw at home to Birmingham City at the end of January.
Since joining the Rams from Arsenal in August 2019, Bielik has made 45 appearances and scored three times.
Poland will face Sweden on home turf at Stadion Slaski in Chorzow in their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Play-Off Final on Tuesday 29th March (7:45pm kick-off) to compete for a place in December’s tournament in Qatar.
Elsewhere late on Thursday, Derby midfielder Ravel Morrison collected his latest international cap for Jamaica.
In their latest CONCACAF 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier, although they already cannot make the Finals in Qatar later this year, the hosts played out a 1-1 draw at home to El Salvador.
LA Galaxy’s Eriq Zavaleta opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half, before Queens Park Rangers strike Andre Gray equalised for Jamacia in the second period.
Morrison played the full 90 minutes of the game at Independence Park in Kingston on this tenth international appearance.
Jamacia will now travel to BMO Field to take on Canada, who sit top of the CONCACAF qualification group, on Sunday 27th March (9:05pm kick-off) before concluding their qualifying campaign back on home soil as they face Honduras on Thursday 31st March (2:05am kick-off).