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90min's Our 21: Pogon Szczecin and Poland's Kacper Kozlowski

Tom Gott
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Euro 2020 will be a big occasion for every player this summer, but few will head into the tournament with the excitement level of Poland's Kacper Kozlowski.

The 17-year-old Pogon Szczecin midfielder is the youngest player travelling to the tournament, and if he sees a single minute of action, he will become the youngest player to ever feature at the European Championships, shattering the record set by Jetro Williams of 18 years and 71 days.

There's a very good chance Kozlowski could make history this summer, so it's time to get to know the talented teenager.


How he's performed this season

Unless you've been keeping a very close eye on Polish football, there's a good chance you'll have no idea how Kozlowski has played over the last year or so.

The 17-year-old established himself as a core part of the Pogon first team this season, battling back from a scary car crash which left him with a broken pelvis and three broken vertebrae in his lower back in January 2020.

Kozlowski managed 20 appearances in all competitions this year, chipping in with one goal and three assists and proving he is very much ready for the senior game, despite his young age.


Preferred position

Kacper Kozlowski
Kozlowski is an attacking midfielder / PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Kozlowski is a versatile midfielder whose skill set lends itself to working in a number of positions.

He's primarily an attacking midfielder, having spent almost the entire season as a 10 for both club and country, but Kozlowski admits that he's just as comfortable playing deeper and even as a defensive midfielder, although he acknowledges that his skill set can be wasted if he's too far back.

Kozlowski actually plays more like a winger at times and is known to drift out wide to get himself one-on-one with a defender, but he spends most of his time in the hole behind the striker.


Who does Kozlowski play like?

Paul Pogba
Kozlowski has been compared to Pogba / BSR Agency/Getty Images

For years now, Kozlowski has held the nickname 'The Polish Pogba' because of similarities to Manchester United star Paul Pogba.

As a tall, agile midfielder, the comparisons are pretty understandable, and Kozlowski admits to studying tapes of Pogba in an attempt to improve his game, but the young Pole does not yet have the physicality needed to go one-on-one with Pogba.

United are even believed to have watched Kozlowski in action around the time he made his Pogon debut as a 15-year-old back in 2019, but they are just one of several sides to have taken notice of Kozlowski.


What have Kozlowski's teammates said about him?

"Mr Football! There's so much hype around him!"

Adrian Benedyczak

"He is very confident, but not wayward or arrogant. It helps him on the pitch, because, for example, he is not afraid to dribble or play unconventionally. His head is in tune with his legs - he just knows he's that good."

Patryk Dabrowski, youth coach

What Paulo Sousa and Kosta Runjaic have said

Paulo Sousa
Sousa is a big fan / ADAM NURKIEWICZ/Getty Images

"He's a great boy. We called him up thinking about the future, but I hope he will play a positive role in the present as well"

Paulo Sousa

"Kacper is an exceptional talent who is only at the beginning of his career. He trained with us when he was 15 and showed his class. In the next year or two, we'll see him playing in one of Europe's top leagues. He's already ready to do so"

Kosta Runjaic

FIFA 21 rating and potential

Kacper Kozlowski
Kozlowski could be a bargain / PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Last summer, Kozlowski had just four senior appearances to his name and had just missed almost an entire year because of that nasty car crash, so the fact that he didn't even make it onto FIFA 21 Ultimate Team isn't much of a surprise.

He is, however, in Career Mode, where you can find Kozlowski as a 62-rated central midfielder with a tidy potential of 82.

Playing in the Polish league means Kozlowski doesn't start the game with a lot of value, so he's a cheap pick-up for any side looking for a future star.


Football Manager rating

When you first load up Football Manager 2021, Kozlowski isn't going to jump out at you as a future superstar. You have to remember that when the game first came out, there were doubts over whether he would ever be able to run on a pitch again.

All that uncertainty about his health hampers his potential quite a bit as well, as does the fact that he spends the first few years of his career in Pogon's Under-18 setup.

Kozlowski's development isn't always as impressive as it perhaps should be, but as you can see from this screenshot of his stats in the future, there are all the tools of a fantastic player there.


What boots will Kozlowski wear at Euro 2020?

As an adidas athlete, Kozlowski has chopped and changed between a number of boots, with the Nemeziz 19.1s one of many styles he has gone for this year.


How involved Kozlowski will be at Euro 2020

If we're being honest, expect this summer to be more of a learning curve for Kozlowski, who isn't exactly knocking on the door of the starting lineup just yet.

The teenager has mainly featured as a late substitute during his time with Poland, and that's unlikely to change when the pressure of the Euros is added.

It would be an enormous surprise not to see Kozlowski come on and break the record, but that might be his only contribution to the tournament.

Still, there are worse ways to spend your summer.


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