Former Celtic striker Maciej Zurawski has told his fellow Poland native and recent Hoops signing Patryk Klimala to be patient in earning a regular place in Neil Lennon’s starting line-up and to capitalise on any opportunities that he gets.
The 21-year-old signed for the club from Jagiellonia Bialystok in his homeland for £3.5m last month (as per The Scottish Sun) and has had a tepid start to his Celtic career, starting only one match and still waiting on his first goal in a Hoops shirt.
Zurawski, who spent three years at Parkhead in the 2000s, thinks that his fellow Polish striker is at “the perfect club” to develop as a player but has advised him that he will need to prove his goal-scoring prowess to Lennon before being handed a regular starting berth.
He told the Daily Record: “This is a really good opportunity for Patryk, who has gone to the perfect club in Celtic. He will get great experience at Celtic. But he has to show patience. It’s not easy to get into that team.
“When he gets his chance, he has to take it. At a club like Celtic, competing against Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths, it’s going to take something special – that means taking any chance he gets. So he has to bide his time and be ready for the opportunity when it comes.”
Zurawski is right to plead patience when speaking about Klimala, whose full Celtic debut against Clyde on Sunday was just his fourth appearance for the club, so he hasn’t had many chances yet to prove what he can do for the Hoops. Also, as the ex-Celtic man has stated, competition for attacking berths is fierce at the moment, with Edouard scoring seven goals in his last five games while Griffiths has four in six games since the winter break, so Lennon is unlikely to sideline either of them any time soon unless their form dips or his hand is forced by injuries or suspension.
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Zurawski himself had to wait until his fourth league appearance for Celtic before getting off the mark and he ended that season with 16 goals to his name, so he is well placed to understand Klimala’s current mindset. Indeed, the club’s current top scorer Edouard didn’t exactly hit the ground running either when he first came to Parkhead in 2017. After scoring on his league debut, he found the net just three more times before the mid-season break – and those three all came in a 5-0 demolition of Motherwell (as per TransferMarkt). He ended that campaign with a modest 11 goals before doubling that last season and going one better this time around with three months of the campaign still remaining.
In fact, Edouard’s form has been so distinguished that he has been a reported £30m transfer target for clubs like Leicester (as per Daily Record) and Napoli (as per Daily Mail). If he does fly the coop in the summer, that could be Klimala’s chance to make a starting berth his own at Celtic, and his prospects of getting in the team before then have improved with Lennon recently switching to a 3-5-2 formation from his previously preferred 4-2-3-1.
Time is certainly on Klimala’s side and circumstances may fall in his favour but, as Zurawski has said, the onus is on the 21-year-old to make the most of any chances that he does get – something he didn’t manage against Clyde when fluffing a one-on-one opportunity in the first half.
Celtic fans, is Zurawski right to urge Klimala to be patient and seize his chance when it comes? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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