Overview of player
Name: Dawid Kownacki
World Cup influence: 5/10
Dawid Kownacki is another Sampdoria youth player who has really seized his opportunities this season, despite only playing 811 minutes for the Blucerchiatti this season, he has managed an impressive 9 goals – averaging a goal every 90 minutes for a 21 year old is superb, especially in his first season. Unsurprisingly, with his nationality, he has been dubbed as the next Lewandowski, Kownacki certainly has the build and attitude to emulate his fellow countryman.
Whilst he certainly has the ability to make an impact at the World Cup, Kownacki’s playing time could be limited due to the firepower Poland have in their arsenal, he will be fighting against the likes of Lewandowski and Milik, so he may have to settle to appearances off the bench.
Overview of Nation
Poland don’t have a rich history on the international stage with their best performance being that of a third place finish in 1974 and 1982. Poland find themselves in group H alongside Senegal, Colombia and Japan, a group which looks very tough to call on the face of it and Poland should have a good chance of progressing. They don’t have the strongest defence in the tournament so a long tournament run is not likely, but if their front-men are firing on all cylinders then you never know what can happen.
They are currently ranked 8th in the FIFA world rankings which suggests they are better than they actually are, but on their day they can cause most teams a few problems still.
Performance of Player in Qualification
Kownacki, sadly, didn’t make any appearances in qualification but his domestic form was deemed good enough to make Adam Nawalka’s squad, when you see Lewandowski’s form then it’s understandable why he was left out of qualification. In qualifying for Russia 2018, Poland have reached their first World Cup in 12 years and their fans have seen Lewandowski smash records scoring 16 goals in 10 games for the Poles. Despite a 4-0 loss to Denmark, Poland qualified top of their group comfortably winning 8 games in the process – not dropping a point at home in the process.
A near faultless qualification will give Poland a much needed confidence boost heading into this year’s World Cup, but the 4-0 defeat to Denmark still very much suggests that they still suffer from some large defensive fragility which will hamper their chances at going further into the tournament.
Why he is One to Watch
Kownacki has followed in the footsteps of Lewandowksi with his early career and is probably sick of hearing comparisons now but the likeness can’t go unnoticed. Kownacki is a powerful striker who is just as happy taking on his man as he is with putting the ball in the back of the net. Creating 1.13 chances per game and completing 0.94 take-ons are magnificent numbers considering the majority of his appearances have come from the bench when he may not have had much time to influence the game.
Even though he will not be Poland’s first striker, he does have the ability to make an impact off the bench with his powerful running and aerial presence he can take advantage of tired legs and is just as adept at providing for teammates so will be more than happy to play alongside a striker partner.
Sampdoria have received plaudits for their youthful side this season as manager Giampaolo’s willingness to grant Kownacki game time shows just how highly he rates the young Pole. Hopefully Russia 2018 will allow him to showcase his many talents to the footballing world, and this Pole certainly has a long and prosperous career ahead of him.
Video of player/Compilation
Dawid Kownacki, skills and goals.
Football Manager Attributes
Kownacki has solid all-round attributes without appearing to excel in any one area, as he matures it is likely that we shall see those physical attributes shoot up, and hopefully whilst learning under Lewandowski this summer, he’ll pick up a thing or two to take his game to the next level.
This isn’t the only ‘One to Watch’, we are releasing a one to watch article for every nation in the World Cup. An hour before each team kick off their first World Cup Group Stage game, we will release that nations one to watch. These can be viewed here – One to Watch for all Nations in World Cup 2018
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