Euro 2016: Arkadiusz Milik – Poland’s Other Forward


A lot of people expect Poland to be the dark-horses for this summers Euros in France. A lot of that expectation seems to stem from the fact that they have a world class finisher in Robert Lewandowski in their team, the Bayern Munich hitman is best priced at around 18/1 to finish the tournament’s top goalscorer.

But the Polish side also have a second striker in Arkadiusz Milik who has an extremely good pedigree.

Last season he finished third top-scorer in the Eredivisie for Ajax and created seven assists.

He came to my attention as I watched him score and set-up another goal against Celtic in the Europa League. He was Ajax’s main striking threat and played with an intelligence that caused the Scottish side all sorts of troubles that night. Working with Dutch legend Dennis Bergkamp at has obviously helped Milik develop as a forward.

For Biało-czerwoni he plays more like a second striker behind Lewandowski and Milik works hard to make the role his own.

He is a smart forward who makes clever runs. Lewandowski is the ideal frontman, as he will drop deep and free up space in behind for Arkadiusz to run into. Unlike most clinical strikers Milik has a bit more awareness about him and is happy to lay the ball off to others if they are in a better position, again showing why he’s a perfect foil for Lewandowski.

In-fornt of goal the Ajax man is usually calm and composed, often preferring to get the ball onto his left side whenever possible.

During the qualification process Arek Milik helped his country’s cause by putting away six goals. He bagged one in the win against World Cup holders Germany (who they’ll face again in Group C)and scored a the goal that rescued a point in Poland’s home game against Scotland. The goal against the Scots showed everyone how smart he is at seeing dangerous space and running into it before striking a left foot shot past a helpless goalkeeper.

It should also be noted that he can let fly from outside the area and score from distance. So it’s extremely hard to mark him out of a game, especially when you also have to watch out for Lewandowski.

I always compare second strikers to Teddy Sheringham, who almost perfected the position during Euro 96. Milik’s pace could have him edging past Sheringham as my ideal second striker.

Today Northern Ireland return to a major final for the first time in thirty years and they have the daunting task of facing the fearsome Polish front two. It could be a long day for the Northern Irish defence. Obviously Robert Lewandowski will be seen as the main threat but they need to treat Arkadiusz Milik with as much respect or he could be the one that dents their hopes.

Listen if Poland’s strike-force shines in France then I can see them going to the latter stages of the competition.

To keep up to date with all things Poland at Euro 2016 follow @Ryan_Hubbard on Twitter

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